With Book Week just around the corner, it’s time for early childhood educators to reflect on how reading profoundly shapes a child’s growth. Beyond sparking imagination, reading sets the stage for language skills, cognitive development, and emotional understanding.
This year, Book Week is taking place from August 19 to 25. As this exciting week approaches, early childhood educators can inspire children to think about their favourite book characters and what they love about them. Let’s also take a moment to remember the notable impact of early reading and discover how to make the most of Book Week in early childhood education settings.
The importance of reading in early years
Early childhood is a critical time for brain development, and reading plays a pivotal role in nurturing young minds. When children are given the opportunity to read books and engage with stories early u life, they are able to experience benefits including:
Reading exposes children to rich vocabulary, helping them expand their language skills and vocabulary.
Books stimulate critical thinking and problem-solving skills as children explore different plots, characters, and scenarios.
Imagination and creativity
Books can transport children (and adults!) to magical worlds, sparking creativity and nurturing imaginations.
Stories featuring relatable characters and situations help children understand emotions, empathy, and social interactions, including supporting inclusivity.
Early exposure to reading prepares children for formal education by enhancing their listening skills, attention span, and literacy foundation.
Classic Australian children’s books children love
Our literary landscape down under has a wealth of books and characters to explore throughout Book Week. From classics to newer favourites, there are countless Australian books that feature beloved heroes and are perfect for celebrating Book Week.
‘Possum Magic’ by Mem Fox
This is a quintessential Australian children’s book that follows the journey of Grandma Poss and Hush as they travel through Australia to reverse Hush’s invisibility. A must-read for every child and adult alike!
‘The Rainbow Serpent’ by Dick Roughsey
In this beautifully illustrated book, children are introduced to the Dreamtime story of the Rainbow Serpent — a creator spirit that shaped the land, waterways, and animals. This book offers a unique opportunity for early childhood educators to introduce children to the rich cultural heritage of Australia’s First Nations people.
‘Bluey: The Beach’
This lift-the-flap book was Winner of the 2020 ABIA Book of the Year and for good reason — children absolutely adore Bluey, and this interactive book takes you on a beach adventure with the blue heeler family. This picture book captures the essence of family bonding, friendship, and the joy of exploration.
‘Do the Propeller’ by The Wiggles
Another lift-the-flap book, this time featuring The Wiggles. In this book, the renowned groups bring their timeless energy to the pages with interactive elements that encourage children to dance, sing, and have fun.
‘Who Sank the Boat?’ by Pamela Allen
‘Who Sank the Boat?’ is an engaging and very funny tale about morning row in the bay with a cow, donkey, sheep, pig and tiny little mouse. It not only entertains young readers but also offers valuable lessons about teamwork, cause and effect, and critical thinking.
Get creative this Book Week
Book Week is a celebration of literature and imagination. A favourite pastime for many is the exciting Book Week event of dressing up as your favourite book characters.
This not only adds an element of fun but also encourages a deeper connection with the stories they adore. Children might like to explore Hush from Possum Magic, Bluey and her family, classics like the Very Hungry Caterpillar or any special character they love from a book.
Aside from costumes, Book Week can also be a chance to incorporate more interactive reading sessions, storytelling events, and creative activities centred around books. These activities create a dynamic learning environment where children’s enthusiasm for reading can be nurtured.
Embrace Book Week in your early childhood setting
Book Week is an incredible opportunity to celebrate the magic of reading and the heroes that inspire children’s imaginations. As early childhood educators, let’s embrace this journey into the world of children’s literature and cultivate a lifelong love for reading.