World Book Day 2020

World Book Day is here once more, and in many households, it’s greeted with anything from a sigh to last-minute panic. As if parents aren’t busy enough, they need to conjure up a costume of a book character from a stock of very little!

Of course, there are some parents that relish World Book Day and take it very seriously indeed. I’ve seen some simply amazing creations, with my all-time favourite being a Thunderbird 2 model complete with uniformed child pilot. I think it’s fair to say there’s a highly competitive streak in that home!

In amongst all this, it’s easy to overlook the nature of World Book Day. It’s all about getting the written word into the hands of the children around the globe.

It’s a funny thing, because we’ve never had such unlimited access to information and literature, and yet most children do anything other than read on their plethora of devices. From tablet to phone, social media trumps all, with the only things exercised being the phone’s battery life and the user’s thumb as they scroll endlessly through ads and pictures.

Yes, Kindle books are amazingly popular (along with audio books), but I suspect if we were able to audit the phone use of most smartphone owners from initial age of ownership to 18, most would not be used for the simple pleasure of reading.

I for one still value a good book. What’s more, as we were always told back in the day, reading improves knowledge, vocabulary and information retention and recall skills. This is still very true!

In fact, it’s often clear to me which students are well-read, compared to those that consume only that which mandatory reading. It isn’t only in the spoken word, but in the ability to articulate themselves, to understand complex questions and to be able to write eloquently and confidently.

Without doubt, reading improves one’s grasp of the one’s language and as a result has a positive impact on many areas, from education to workplace communication. If you can’t spell or write in a structured way, it can be perceived as a lack of care or intelligence. Special needs notwithstanding, academic institutions and employers alike expect a certain level of competence, and rightly so.

I know when I was younger, I was far too focused on sport to care much about books. However, it’s something that my parents and my teachers were right about.

Because as old as this makes me sound, you can’t beat a good book!

I hope you enjoy World Book Day 2020 and even get to turn a page or two.