4th March 2021
Today marks the 26th annual World Book Day! With schools still closed to the majority of pupils, World Book Day has gone virtual for 2021, with livestreams and digital content bringing exciting new fiction to children’s computer screens across the UK. A registered charity backed by authors and publishers, World Book Day has three aims:
Although the UK has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, reading for pleasure is a diminishing hobby, with 46% of young people stating that they don’t read for pleasure at all compared to 31% of older adults. World Book Day aims to get children excited by reading by offering every child a free book and plenty of supporting events, resources for teachers and celebrity involvement.
To celebrate the day, we’ve taken a look at some of the ways this annual event benefits everyone in education:
It provides New Ways For Children To Access READING FOR PLEASURE
World Book Day has always been about getting real books into children’s hands. Over more than two decades World Book Day has given over 100 million books away. Over the years, the system for receiving books has changed, this year, children will be given a voucher and able to select a book from a range available at several retailers – there are around 15 million books to give away, that’s almost one for every single under 18 in the UK. This year, book vouchers will also be available on McDonalds Happy Meal boxes, reaching even more children at a time when they may not be attending school.
“3 in 10 of children receiving free school meals said the book they ‘bought’ with their WBD book token was the first book they had of their own”
With the COVID pandemic raising more awareness of the attainment gap, data like this shows how essential (and awesome!) World Book Day really is.
It’S MORE THAN JUST GIVING AWAY BOOKS
Inspiring children, young adults and even adults to read for pleasure is the ultimate aim of World Book Day. But bringing books to life can happen in other ways. This year, there are some exciting online events that can be streamed live or watched afterwards on the World Book Day youtube channel. Featuring authors, celebrities and illustrators on topics from Books That Make You LOL to Bringing Books To Life, the events aim to give readers an insight into what goes into writing and creating stories as well as offering lots of fantastic suggestions and recommendations to encourage and celebrate reading for pleasure.
In previous years, children across the UK have celebrated World Book Day by dressing up as their favourite characters and it’s been an incredibly memorable and exciting day at school for youngsters of all ages. This year, we’ve seen children encouraged to get dressed up at home, creating costumes that reflect their favourite characters or along a theme set by their class teacher – we’ve seen some fantastic historical costumes over on twitter!
It’s had a real impact
Since it began, World Book Day has been responsible for the distribution of over 100 million books. That’s no small feat – it means that every year, children who may not own books suitable for their reading age are introduced to the joy of reading through the initiative. As the impact of COVID becomes more clear, we are likely to see a significant decrease in early primary literacy levels. Initiatives and events like World Book Day reiterate the importance (and fun!) of reading and have long term benefits for children of all ages who get involved.
We hope you are enjoying World Book Day 2021 however you are choosing to celebrate it, at home or in the classroom!
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