The importance of reading
by Jan Edmunds (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the importance of books and how we use them.
Preparation and materials
Prepare a table with a selection of books that are suitable for the matching game in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3. For example, a dictionary, a telephone directory, an encyclopedia, a Bible, a storybook and any others you might like to add.
Read the following poem as an introduction to the assembly.
Go into the library – go and take a look.
Enter a world of magic in the pages of a book.
Some are full of stories, some for finding out.
To read them is exciting, see what they’re all about.
We can learn so much from books, there’s so much to enjoy.
A world that’s full of knowledge for every girl and boy.
We have some lovely books in our school library. Most of us have a favourite storybook. From books, we can learn about animals and birds, trees and flowers. We can find out about children in other lands and how people lived years ago. There are books about cars, trains, ships, aeroplanes and space. We can read about God’s world and about other religions. The world of books and knowledge is endless. Some are fact and some are fiction.
Ask the children to explain the differences between fact and fiction books.
Point to the table on which a selection of books is displayed.
Many of us have books at home and enjoy sharing a story at bedtime. When we learn to read, we can enter a world full of new and interesting things. Think of the many books in our school library.
Ask the following questions.
- What books do you like to read?
- Do you have a favourite book?
Spend a short time listening to the children’s answers. Point out that there are many different kinds of books and we need to learn how to use them. Ask if the children can tell you, for example, which book they would need to use to find out where someone lives. When the correct answer is given, hold up the particular book.
Ask the following questions and hold up the correct book as the answers are given.
- Which book would tell us how to spell a word correctly?
- Where could we find some stories about Jesus?
- Which books would tell us more about things that happened long ago?
Go through each book on the table in turn.
Do you ever think about all the clever people who write your favourite poems, make up all the wonderful stories or spend hours researching all the information? Many books have beautiful pictures: some are drawn or painted by skilful artists, others are photos taken by gifted photographers. There are people who prepare the books for printing and people who print them. They spend hours putting the material together for our pleasure.
You could say that books are like our true friends: we don’t always use them, but we know where they are when we need them.
Time for reflection
Think about your favourite book: can you choose just one?
What makes that book so good? Say a quiet ‘thank you’ in your mind to the people involved in writing the book and creating the illustrations, the people involved in printing the book and the people who worked at the place that sold the book.
Thank you for our books and for the people who helped to make them.
Thank you for all the interesting things that we can learn from them
And for the pleasure that they give us.
Help us to persevere with our reading
So that we can enjoy the wonderful world of books.
‘Black and white’ (Come and Praise, 67)