World Book Day logo. Illustrations © RobBiddulph

World Book Day: The importance of reading to toddlers

It’s that time of year again – today is World Book Day, when we celebrate all that is good about children’s literature.

This morning, parents will be sending assorted Harry Potters, Gruffalos and Very Hungry Caterpillars off to schools and nurseries across the land for a day of book-based activities.

I have two preschoolers living in my house and books are a staple of their day.

Our shelves are awash with the works of Eric Carle, Judith Kerr, Julia Donaldson…and Peppa Pig. Lots and lots of Peppa Pig.

Some of the children’s classics to be found on our bookshelf

But it really doesn’t matter what the book is. I don’t mind if I have to read Peppa Goes to the Library one hundred times (and it must be nearing that figure) as by doing so I am helping to set my baby bookworms up for a life-long love of reading, not to mention aiding their development.

New skills

Reading to babies and toddlers helps little ones to get to know sounds, words and language and develop early literacy skills. It encourages social and communication skills and helps children to learn how to use their imagination.

Reading to a child is also a great way to help them understand change and important life events, along with the strong emotions that come with them, by helping to develop cognitive processing and teaching empathy.

Dad reading with daughter

Sit down with your children and rediscover some old favourites

Just sitting down with a book helps a baby or toddler to get used to the physical feeling of handling a book, turning the pages and, in time, learning how to treat books with respect. And of course reading with young children is an excellent way of bonding with them.

So make time today to sit down with your child and revisit some old favourites, try something new, or be like Peppa and sign them up at your local library.

Happy reading. 

  • Do you have a favourite children’s author? What is your favourite book to read to your little ones? Tell us below.