World Book Day, 2nd March, is the biggest celebration of its kind designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading" from worldbookday.com. For this World Book Day I want everyone to join my campaign to introduce reading where it actually begins - in the womb, and here's how to do it.
For practical books, I try to set a plan for how I can implement it in my life. Charlie Munger also described the necessity of using what you read: 'I don't know anyone who's wise who doesn't read a lot. But that's not enough: You have to have a temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things. Most people don't grab the right ideas or don't know what to do with them.'
I believe characters in stories should be as diverse as the people who read them, but only a very small handful of children's books feature a deaf character. There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. Most are born to hearing parents and go to mainstream schools where they may be the only deaf child, so they can feel quite isolated.
Like many things, the motivation to do so has to come from within. Somewhat appropriately, the words of Oscar Wilde ring true alongside this issue; "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Allegedly, the little reading Donald Trump does do is reserved for those articles written about himself, and only himself. Wilde's words have never felt more relevant.
Being unpopular made me tough as hell. I got used to incessant criticism, of myself and everything I did. It stopped bothering me to the same degree. When you are the class whipping girl, every aspect of your existence is a problem to someone. It taught me to pay attention to the misfits, the people on the fringe, the purple cows. After all, I was one of them. I still am.
I had subconsciously buried this teeny tiny fact once I had finished the gravy train of education. I sat my last exam at university, which I took in a separate room to my peers, just like I had taken all of my exams. We had extra time as well as a couple of helpful ladies ready and willing to assist us more needy students. This was the last time I really gave my dyslexia any thought.
As a mum who has put her own child through nursery, and as a childcare practitioner for over 15 years, I understand how busy life as a parent can be and it's not always possible to read every day with your child. However, it has been proven that children who are read to at an early age are more likely to excel with their numeracy, literacy and language skills as they get older.
I usually get lost in crime fiction or romantic novels that are easy to read, rather than non-fiction books that could teach me a little bit about life. But, after seeing a series of books cropping up on social media with claims they could "improve my life for the better", I took the plunge and bought some.
We face a huge literacy challenge in England which is preventing many of our children and young people from being able to thrive and lead successful lives. Gender, socio-economic background and where children live are all at the heart of our literacy challenge. Boys in England are nearly twice as likely as girls to fall behind in early language and communication; and children at all ages from the lowest income groups are likely to be less literate than their counterparts from higher income groups.