04 May 2016
The world recently celebrated Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary of his death, and we owe it to the bard and other authors for our love of reading and the splendour of words. The phrase, ‘mum’s the word’, is derived from Shakespeare’s play, Henry VI, and many modern-day phrases and words were penned by the bard – you can’t have “too much of a good thing”! (As You Like It).
2016 also celebrates the birthdays of Beatrix Potter 150 years ago, and Roald Dahl 100 years ago. Her Majesty the Queen marked her 90th birthday with many celebrations across the UK. The nation was respectfully joyful and thankful to someone who took the words in her vows to her very core to become the monarch for life.
Even Leicester City, the underdog with the remarkable rise to glory in the Premier League, turned its fortune around with fighting words of inspiration and encouragement from their manager who listened to the team and played to their individual strengths.
We celebrate many things in life, such as the aforementioned, as well as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, passing exams, and winning a school match, etc which all encompass our desire to congratulate and be happy for the person bestowed with their good fortune whether marked as an annual event or a special one-off.
However, quite often it’s the smaller things which, at the time, don’t seem to be out of the ordinary, but, in hindsight, we realise how fondly those moments are cherished. I especially deeply cherish reading to my children when they were younger, as I also affectionately remember the close bonds and tenderness I experienced with my parents when they read to me in my formative years. Reading, especially fathers, to children, exerts a magnetism whereby the child is entranced in a colourful world powered by their imagination, fuelled by your voice and animations. These precious moments should be celebrated, as so much is garnered in ways beyond measure.
Children love being read to and wholeheartedly absorb the reader’s enthusiasm and words, and the earlier they start, the better. Many studies confirm numerous benefits to the child such as a stronger relationship with the parent, better communication skills, mastery of language, more logical thinking skills, enhanced concentration and discipline, and the knowledge that reading is fun. These attributes also contribute to their love of reading which remains with the child as they grow up and permeate positively throughout all aspects of life.
Reading is a huge part of The Croft throughout all year groups. In addition to general reading within the classroom, pupils read aloud to an adult, Year 6 pupils read excerpts from the Bible during assembly, House Captains read out their match reports to their peers after lunch, and pupils enjoy Library lessons in one of our two extensive libraries where all types of reading is encouraged in a relaxed manner. The Croft also regularly participates in the national Read for my School competition.
Shakespeare’s contemporary, Ben Jonson, anticipated his dazzling future when he declared in the preface to the First Folio, “He was not of an age, but for all time!” In the same vein, let’s celebrate our love of reading for the next generation – so mums - and dads - please pass on the word!