The Transformative Power of Literature in Childhood

April 23 is World Book and Copyright Day, established by UNESCO in 1995. This date was chosen to commemorate three famous authors who died on this day in different years according to the Gregorian calendar: Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Garcilaso de la Vega.

Before UNESCO established this day, Book Day had already been celebrated in Spain since 1926 as a tradition inspired by Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés’ idea to honor books and authors. On this day, which coincides with Sant Jordi’s Day in Catalonia, the streets are filled with stalls of books and roses, which people exchange as tokens of love and friendship.

In recent years, the literary sector has continued to grow in our country. The Barometer of Reading Habits and Book Purchasing in Spain (Barómetro de Hábitos de Lectura y Compra de Libros en España), prepared by Conecta for the Federation of Publishers’ Guilds of Spain, indicated that in 2023 the percentage of the population over 14 years of age who read books reached 68.3%. Children and adolescents continue to be the sector that reads the most in their free time. In addition, 76.3% of households with children under 6 years of age read to their youngest members.

Childhood Reading Habits

Reading during childhood is fundamental for several reasons, as it has a significant impact on children’s cognitive, emotional and social development. Here are some examples of how:

Language development: reading in childhood exposes children to a wide variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures. This helps strengthen their language skills and improve their quality of expression.

Critical thinking and autonomy: Reading fosters critical thinking, imagination and creativity. Critical thinking helps children make informed and responsible decisions and consider the consequences of their actions. 

Emotional development: Books can help children understand and manage their own emotions by relating to the characters and situations in books. They also learn empathy and respect for others by experiencing realities very different from their own through the stories they read.

Exploring the world: Books expose children to different cultures, experiences and points of view, broadening their understanding of the world around them and fostering curiosity and interest in learning. 

Encouraging reading habits from an early age can cultivate a lifelong love of literature. Children who enjoy reading tend to continue reading throughout adolescence and into adulthood.

The reader, therefore, is born in infancy. Their first encounter with literature is through the oral transmission of stories through tales or songs. Reading aloud during childhood creates a strong emotional bond in the family. It is an opportunity to share special moments together and create memories.

Oral stories are followed by picture books, the first contact with books as objects full of lines, shapes and colors to be discovered. When children are ready to interpret written language, it’s time for books with more words and longer sentences.

With Smile and Learn, students can improve their reading comprehension skills through authentic readings and traditional stories accompanied by fun animations, audio and text to facilitate comprehension.

Discover Smile and Learn’s Big Challenge

At Smile and Learn we know how important family leisure time is for children’s development. That’s why, together with Laurosse, we published our book El gran reto de Smile and Learn, a play-and-read experience in which young and old can join in on an exciting battle of questions and answers on a wide variety of topics in Spanish. 

How to celebrate Book Day with Smile and Learn?

On our YouTube channel you will find many stories adapted for children that are great for winding down in class. For a day as special as today, we suggest our adapted version of the classic by Juan Ramón Jiménez, Platero and I. Would you like to discover the adventures and friendship forged between a boy and his donkey with your students?

YouTube video

If you have not yet tried our educational platform you can do so by clicking on the following link.

Happy reading!

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