World Book Day - it's a lifeline to literacy | Emma Kay

I’m going to highlight a charity that is near and dear to my heart.

By Emma Kay
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 7:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 7:34 pm

World Book Day is an annual event where every child in full time education is given a voucher for a free book. A seemingly small gesture but in real terms a very real lifeline to literacy.

It’s the 25th anniversary of World Book Day this year. The charity has come a long way in encouraging children to read – one of the most significant ways to improve a child’s education.

But reading for pleasure has been in decline, having to compete with computer games. It is estimated nearly 400,000 children have bare bookshelves at home. Isn’t that immensely sad? Imagine visiting a house and seeing takeaway menus as the only visible thing to read?

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The magic of books should never be allowed to fizzle out.

By depriving children of books you stunt a healthy mind-set and a world of possibility. Reading will boost a child’s education. It will boost their world experience. A house with few or no books is a house void of imagination and creativity.

World Book Day gives children the opportunity to read regularly and have books at home. World Book Day Tokens are available from tomorrow, mostly given out at school. They can be used for a free book or used to get money off any book.

Parents, guardians, carers, please heed my plea. Do not throw your book tokens away. Do not stuff it in the bottom of a schoolbag, or pin it to the fridge as an empty reminder. Go to your local bookshop or supermarket and use that token. It’s fun and it is free, so why not?

Maybe rekindle your own love of reading and take joy in it. Let a paperback take you on an adventure. My heart sinks coming out of the school gates and seeing tokens discarded as if they were trash, as if they were nothing. It is a woeful waste to squander such a gift.

A book is a way to take a breather from our busy lives. It opens up a new world for a child. There are so many benefits from reading. There is a heavy correlation between reading every day for pleasure and mental wellbeing.

Reading offers comfort and in this messy world this is something children need.

So please, please, please, do not throw away your book token.

AXING PUFFERS WOULD BENEFIT ASTHMA SUFFERERS AND THE PLANET

Aerosol spray inhalers, ‘puffers’, are powerful and have a propellant greenhouse gas which gets the medicine directly into the airways.

These gases – hydrofluorocarbons – heat our planet and are 1,000-3,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It may not seem a lot but five million asthma sufferers in the UK are prescribed these little pollutants. Dry powder inhalers contain no propellant. Instead you suck out the medicine. Aerosol containers are harder to use.

Healthcare professionals must take a hard look at the environmental footprint of aerosol inhalers and consider dry powder alternatives. They would benefit patients and planet alike.

DAYS OF SUPERMARKETS SWEEPS ARE OVER AS PRICES SOAR AGAIN

Our shopping baskets are looking uninviting. Having to regretti the spaghetti and squeeze the cheese every week as costs climb is not the best way to live.

Rising prices means higher inflation, which is pushing the cost of living to the top of the political agenda. Many households will find it difficult to absorb the additional costs. So what can we do?

Not a lot besides complaining. More money is needed from our pockets. The paltry offer of a council tax rebate to help with energy bills, is not really going to stop many going below the breadline? Businesses won’t soak up the costs, so it is inevitable rising costs will pass to the shelves and to us.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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