Amidst the wonderous age of technology, let’s not forget the wonder of books…

So for perspective… I am a bit of a book freak… I’m a classroom teacher but definitely a librarian at heart. I love books because of the nostalgia, the smell, the feel of the pages, the worlds you can be transported to, the characters…the experience, the magic! However this doesn’t mean I’m anti-tech. Society seems to love to categorise people and this is one of those instances, you’re either labelled a book-lover or tech-whizz, but these worlds co-exist beautifully together.

The learning power of technology cannot be overlooked, and honestly I think we’re disadvantaging kids if we limit their use of digital learning tools and opportunities. What an exciting (and terrifying!) world they get to grow up in with so much information and endless resources available to them.

The learning potential is limitless given the appropriate guidance. My house is certainly a hybrid, my kids get way more screen time than the experts recommend, they could navigate an ipad before they could walk and my four year old knows more about “inventory lists”, “villagers”, “endermans” and “creepers” then I was ever vaguely interested in hearing about!

My daughter learned shape recognition using an ipad at 13 months, pre-reading skills and how to navigate to find her own music well before she started school and I’m no expert on the matter but I believe my kid’s fine motor skills were largely benefited from using an ipad to drag, zoom in and out etc., of course in conjunction with a whole lot of free play, creative exploration and outdoor fun!!

So we know the true value of technology and digital learning tools, however even as someone whose kids have a whole lot of tech time, I do believe that there are many things that simply cannot be replaced with a screen.

Yes we can learn and teach literacy skills using technology, even reading and pre-reading skills and of course it’s super fun and forms part of a wonderfully holistic literacy program…but…

Let’s not forget the wonder of books… the joy of reading with children, the voices, the togetherness, the connection, the world you all become apart of for a short time, the adventure and the learning that happens without even knowing it.

Great children’s books allow the reader to dive into different worlds. To meet new characters, discover new cultures, and have adventures. Allowing the reader to escape from their daily lives. Inspire Book Box is your one stop shop to engage and ignite your child’s passion for reading, learning, creating and imagining.

When you read to a child they hear how you say words, what words look like on a page, how you read left to right, how the pictures relate to the words and so many other literacy skills. Even more importantly though, you’re building relationships and finding a moment of peace and connection in this crazy world and that can never be replaced with a screen.

Once Upon A Book is a book subscription service delivering hand-picked books, based on your interests, right to your door. This service brings a personal touch to your reading experience and suits anyone looking to diversify their book collection.

 

Don’t get me wrong, we’re all human and I know there’s moments when your little lovely one comes up to you with a book for you to read and you run through any excuse you can think of to not read that same book AGAIN when you’re oh so tired and just really couldn’t be bothered – we’ve all had these thoughts!! What I’ve found though is that what ever else I think I need to be doing – dishes, tidying, even cooking… can always wait the 10 minutes it might take to just read the book.

Also, when I choose to read the book, and allow myself to get caught up in the voices, the suspense, the tone, the anticipation in the words… it becomes a form of meditation, a grounding experience for us both. I feel myself soften and forget about my to do list for a while and I watch that beautiful smile on their face that makes anything worthwhile.

The magic of books and storytelling is also highlighted by the way that children interact and explore with texts. Children learn through play and one of the most magical experiences in childhood is participating in unstructured dramatic play and role-play using costumes and props. Page to Play offers a curated selection of popular children’s books with costumes and props to fuel their creativity and inspire a lifelong love of literature.

The other wonderful thing that happens when we read with children is the inquiry, the curiosity and the critical questioning that takes place that teaches kids to question, analyse and discover their own meaning within texts. It’s also a great time for parents, carers or educators to pose questions to children to help them understand a concept within the book or take away a certain message.

The award winning children’s book “Aroha’s Way” by Rebekah Lipp and Craig Phillips is a beautiful picture book that takes children on a journey through emotions associated with anxiety and shows simple yet effective ways to help manage them.  Aroha shows children a tool that she uses for each emotion which includes; movement or exercise, belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness and connecting with others and sharing our worries.

At the back of the book, there is a section for parents and/or teachers to explore the tools in more depth.  This section expands on the beautiful poem and opens up conversations with our children.  Asking questions around those emotions to make it easier for children to recognise the emotion, and then a simple way to manage it.

When my 7 year old first read this book she told me that “Aroha dances with her anxiety” – which I thought was a beautifully articulate way of expressing how Aroha manages her big feelings in the book, and the questions at the back of the book really helped her explore and understand the strategies being used by Aroha and those that she could perhaps adopt to manage her own big feelings. As a child that struggles daily with anxiety, fear, apprehension and nervousness, this book is a favourite of hers and we love to read it together.

 

Books are also immensely powerful resources to assist children develop essential life skills. eSafeKids provides books and resources to teach children about social and emotional intelligence, respectful relationships, diversity, resilience, empathy, gender equality, consent, body safety, protective behaviours, cyber safety, digital wellness, media literacy, puberty, pornography and family and domestic violence.

So yes, I think it’s important to embrace the digital world that our children have such a natural affinity with…  but let’s not forget the magical power of storytelling, of sharing our favourite books with our kids and  watching with joy as they discover their own favourites.

Have your own little author? Why not check out the virtual writing sessions at Juniour Writers Club – a fun learning opportunity for your budding writer. 

What are your favourite books to read with your kids?

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Thanks for reading and I would LOVE for you to join the discussion on my blogs.

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Ashlei