First, just read this ..

This week it is World Book Day and schools across Bolton will be engaged in activities aimed at raising awareness about books and the importance of reading for young people. That becomes even more important for young boys, who are less likely to read than their sisters. Reading books not only helps us absorb a sense of different cultures and different times, it stimulates imagination and allows us to explore feelings alongside the character and develop emotional response. Reading well known books gives us something to discuss with others and allows us to be fluent in understanding cultural allusions and sayings. Being able to read well also allows us to be informed, have well grounded opinions and be active participants in democracy. The three ‘R”s of education – reading, writing and arithmetic, were put in the right order. Reading is also the most important way of improving vocabulary. Encountering new words and expressions broadens how effectively we can express ourselves.


Role models are important here as well. Seeing their parents read, and read widely, is important. Returning to the issue for young boys, it is important that they see their dad reading as well as their mum. And if that is a fiction book rather than a car manual, so much the better. How many books do they see around our homes. If we are reading on Kindle, do we make clear we are, rather than checking email? They need to know we enjoy reading, so they aspire to enjoying reading.


In developing countries the focus is all on literacy – being able to read improves life expectancy more significantly than any other intervention. In some parts of the globe and in the past in the UK books have been banned. People broke the law to be able to read.


As we enjoy world book day, dress our children up as characters and celebrate rich literature, let’s have the resolve at home we have abroad and carry that zeal for reading through the whole year.


About Philip Britton

Philip Britton is the Head of Foundation of Bolton School. He was brought up on Tyneside, took a first in physics at Oxford and did teacher training at Cambridge. He worked as physics teacher, Head of Physics and Deputy Head at Leeds Grammar School before moving to Bolton in 2008. In 2010 he was awarded an MBE for services to physics and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics where he has been much involved in physics education, encouraging teachers to encourage the next generation of physicists. Follow at X: @Philip_Britton | View X/Twitter archive | Listen at: Exploring Bolton School | Social Mobility, Leadership & Future School Thinking | Strategic School Leadership with Philip Britton | Strategic School Leadership with Philip Britton