Creating Enthusiastic Readers: The Importance of Children’s Books

Whilst visiting St George’s International School for teacher-training last week, Sue McGonigle from the Institute of Education (London) gave a presentation to the (Primary School) parents about ways of encouraging our children to read for fun. Sue, who has been involved in the writing of units of the National Curriculum, said that we often focus on the skills and knowledge children need to learn to read but not the attitude.

This is important because if we want them to be life long lovers of books then they need to want to read for pleasure. We all know how much reading can enrich our lives, as research continues to reflect, children who read or who are read to at home regularly have richer vocabularies, are able to express their emotions better and attain higher overall grades in all areas.

There are over 10,000 books published every year in the UK alone. But what is so special about children’s literature? Through books, graphic novels, or even comics children can enter into another world, country, culture or time in history. They can open a window on a place where they can explore similarities and difference. It can help them with their own personal development to find other people who think or feel the same. They can feel a connection to characters that help them get through the good times and the bad times.

Good children’s books come in all shapes and sizes, with or without words or with or without illustrations. There are books for all types of readers from those who like to read around a subject like their favorite football team, hobby or special interest to books based on stories from traditions and folklore from all over the world. All these forms of literature are good for all ages. The key to finding the best books for your child is by giving them a variety of choice and following their interest.

Sue recommended talking to children about what they like or don’t like in different books.

Her suggested questions included:

  • What did you like or not like about this book?
  • Can you show me your favorite page?
  • What character did you like best?
  • Was there anything that puzzled you in the book?
  • Did it remind you of other stories? What makes you think that?



Sue then shared with the group a list of recommended books (from the National Curriculum) and several websites to help parents and children explore different genres of books together.


Further Information: Useful Links – with books, ideas and activities for children 0-7 years (website officially launching in July).


Further Information: Recommended Reading

Illustrated Storybooks for Primary-aged Children

Man on the Moon by Simon Bartram (2004)

Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman (2013)

Traction Man by Mini Grey (2006)

King Kong by Anthony Browne (2005)

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt (2007)

Mr Big by Ed Vere (2008)



The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear


Traditional Stories

The Gigantic Turnip by Aleksei Tolstoy (2006)


Visual Books

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2007)



The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

Varjak Paw by S.F. Said (2010)

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver




Article by:  Lynn Frank who is a coordinator for Passage.

Last updated:  Wednesday 10th June, 2015