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Why Reading Is Important To Us

Reading is an important part of everyone's day. Some of us struggle, and some of us thrive. From the necessity of reading signs and labels to putting our feet up and reading our favourite authors, we are all faced with reading.

At Education Umbrella we are always exploring new ways to help bring reading, and learning, to you in easy and accessible ways.


With Routes to Reading we're selecting books that will help your child gain those essential early skills that help them develop into a confident young reader. Our team assesses books over a variety of categories and chooses those that will be most beneficial to your children. With Baby Book Club we offer a stress-free way to get specially selected books to your door. Or, if you're looking to try new books along with your own existing collection, our Little One's Library offers our team's carefully selected catalogue.


When your child gets to primary school we're proud to offer Storyteller Interactive. These videos showcase a variety of stories with specifically designed teaching resources that are fully interactive. Teachers will benefit from drama, comprehension, vocabulary and many other activities that are designed to get the best out of them and their pupils.


As needs change, so does our understanding of how information needs to be presented. From this we developed TECbooks, interactive eBook versions of a wide range of textbooks, fiction and non-fiction. For individual or class use, they allow you to adapt the book to your own needs. Zoom in or out to adjust the font size, highlight sections that you're unsure of or find interesting and even add external information. With these extra features, not available in standard eBooks, we hope to enhance the learning experience for both teacher and pupil so that they can get the most out of their resources.


In the classroom, keeping track of curriculum changes can be a mammoth task. With Curriculum Vital we aim to show the latest information and what resources there are to help you achieve the most from the changes. Alongside book reviews and lesson plans you'll be able to find a selection of extra resources to make the perfect classroom addition.

Every member of our team has their own reasons why reading is important to them, take a look below and share in some of our own reading journeys.


ALI: When I read with my son I pick out colours and animals and ask him lots of questions about the book and see if he can pick things out. I have a very inquisitive child anyway so we have lots of discussions about where the tractor went and what he is doing now. Reading gives kids a good understanding of situations – especially if you read it in a child friendly way with silly voices, not all in one tone, that keeps them interested. My favourite memory of reading was a teacher at school reading George’s Marvellous Medicine in such a manner that it made me want to buy the book and read it again!


ANGUS: For me, the best writing is that which can propel you into a wholly different culture – or perhaps an experience or encounter which is entirely alien to you – whilst also allowing you to connect to the character through those, common, fundamental things that make us human. To know that the warrior feels fear like you, the revolutionary self-doubt like you, or the prisoner moments of great joy like you, gives reading the capacity to be thoroughly life affirming. Without doubt, having personal reading experiences such as these can have a dramatic effect on how a young child grows into an adult – perhaps most importantly, in learning to accept yourself as much as to accept others.


DAVID: Reading is important to me for two main reasons, entertainment and experience. Entertainment: the ability to entertain and be entertained. Experience: to experience a broader perspective of subjects you can or already do relate to, plus those that are alien of new. When I can find the time I really enjoy reading reports submitted to the Times and Wisden by Alan Gibson that evoke a classic time in county cricket that I was able to enjoy growing up.

The ability to learn is paramount for the child, you learn to read then through reading you can learn about anything and everything else. With my first child on the way, I look forward to reading to them as often as possible.


EMMA: I always remember being surrounded by books; my Mum could have started a library of her own. I remember loving Richard Scarry, Catherine Storr and Diana Hendry. When I hit my teens I fell out of love with books as I didn’t really enjoy reading parts of a story in class and not the whole book. Classics that I now love felt like torture to read. I got a job in a local bookshop in my late teens and all that changed. I would read anything from picture books to historical biographies. Reading became a pleasure again and I learnt that it didn’t matter what I read as long as I was enjoying it.


KATE: I never tire of learning something new when I'm reading a book, or thinking about something I'd never thought about before. And at the same time it's relaxing. I always remember reading being an escape from the chaos of family life and, for a little while, I was able to transport myself somewhere else. It is important to encourage children to read so that they can think about things beyond their immediate experience, it opens them up to so many opportunities and possibilities.


LIZ: Where do I begin? Reading is one of the best experiences of my life, being able to escape reality and totally immerse myself in other worlds.

I remember the excitement of visiting the library every week as a child, returning home with my treasure and then reading by torchlight under the bedclothes long after I was supposed to be asleep.

Now that I'm well and truly "grown up" I always have books to hand - by the bed, for journeys and especially for holidays, when I can read without feeling guilty - there is nothing else I should be doing!

My children have inherited a love of reading and now we're passing it on the the next generation. What a delight to cuddle up and read with my grandchildren.


ROSS: Reading is, first and foremost, my favourite hobby. I read between 20 and 30 books a year, across a range of genres. This year, for example, started with Sir Alex Ferguson’s memoirs (one to avoid) and recently took in David Almond’s Half a Creature from the Sea: A Life in Stories (one to seek). A few years ago I noticed that, like many men, I was reading mostly male authors or books with male protagonists. Now I make sure to alternate male and female authors.

I’m very lucky to have a job that involves writing book reviews and text guides. Recently I wrote a review of Meera Syal’s semi-autobiographical novel Anita and Me and a guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, both of which are popular at GCSE and A-level. 

My favourite reading memory is my first term as an undergraduate at the University of East Anglia. Part of my timetable went like this: Tuesday - ‘Prose' with Louis de Bernières, author of my favourite novel, Birds Without Wings, and the equally epic Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; Thursday - ‘Poetry' with Anthony Thwaite, a brilliant poet in his own right, but perhaps better known as the man who edited Philip Larkin’s Selected Letters and Collected Poems. 

Human beings have existed for about 200,000 years. For the first 195,000 years our communication was only oral. Then, about 5,000 years ago, we invented the first systems of writing. For children who don’t want to read, the question is, ‘Would you rather live in the Stone Age or the Modern Age?’


RUTH: Reading is important to me as books provide a huge variety of experiences and finding a great book is a wonderful way to relax, switch off and step into a different world.

My favourite memory of reading is from when I was younger and being so engrossed in a book that there was no possible way I could stop reading until I’d finished the story. This would sometimes involve me going to school very tired and I’d often have to keep switching my bedside light off so that my parents thought I was sleeping! I just love that memory of a story being so engaging that waiting another day to find out what happened felt like far too long! Nowadays, I’m probably a bit too practical (and tired from having a toddler) but thankfully, I do still discover books that are very hard to put down!

I think encouraging children to read, and to love all kinds of books, is one of the most important things we can do as parents, grandparents, book-sellers, teachers and anyone else that has any opportunity to place a book in a child’s hands. At a very basic level, being able to confidently read will provide that child with so many opportunities in later life. Reading also opens up a thousand different worlds, characters, voices and opinions which for a young child with a developing imagination can only be a great thing.

I read to my son at least once a day and at the moment, it’s usually twice a day -  when he gets up and before he goes to sleep at night. We’ve currently got a ‘cushion corner’ in his room which he loves and it’s surrounded by his books. However, if we’re out and about, I’ll take a book with me, safe in the knowledge that I have distraction ready for if and when he gets a bit bored of whatever we’re doing!


SANDEE: – I’ve loved books ever since I can remember and I think it has helped me in my creativity, my vocabulary and my social awareness. I love reading because it helps to expand my mind and gives me the opportunity to escape from everyday life!

My favourite memory about reading - I can’t vouch for this but apparently, when I was quite young, I was sat at the bus stop with my mum and asked her if she could make the cars be quiet because I couldn’t read my book!

Reading is hobby which is accessible no matter the budget and enjoyable for everyone. In the early years, reading is key in creating emotional bonds, developing communication skills and introducing new ideas and concepts to babies and toddlers. As children grow up, reading is fundamental to education, creativity and basic life skills but should still be enjoyed through books about what the child enjoys.

I don’t have my own children but every time I see my nieces and nephews, I set aside some time to read books with them. We read books they love and try a few new ones every now and then, I find exciting voices, actions and interactive books help to bring stories to life.