March is National Reading Month.

Kate Beddow
5 min readFeb 27, 2023

A whole month to celebrate the magic that is reading, and of course the month which contains World Book Day, a day either loved or hated by children and parents alike.

As an ex-teacher and self proclaimed bibliophile, I am fascinated by how people engage with books. Probably my favourite thing about teaching was seeing that magical moment when something just clicks and a child suddenly has confidence reading. This usually happens around the age of 6 or 7 years old. Seeing the joy in their face when they realise they can read whole pages of words without having to sound them out is pure magic.

Sadly, for many children this is around the age their interest in reading peaks.

Statistically children read more books a year in Y3, which is 7 and 8 year olds, than at any other time in their lives, around 37 books a year. Of course it is also around this age that most children move onto longer and more complex books, but the average reading age in the UK is only 9 years old and 18% of people said they never read, when surveyed.

I’m not going to pretend that there haven’t been times when I haven’t read as much as I do now. When my children were younger I perhaps read three or four books a year but I have always had a book on the go. I appreciate that some people are unable to read, for whatever reason, but these statistics include audiobooks.

When people say that they don’t read, it makes me sad. Reading is one of the greatest joys in my life. Sitting in a comfy chair or in bed, with a good book and a cuppa is one of my favourite things in the whole world. Extra points if it’s raining and double points if Im in a caravan or conservatory with the rain on the roof.

Reading is breathing in…

When it comes to reading, I agree with Pam Allyn; “Reading is breathing in and writing is breathing out”.

Obviously my work is based around the power of writing, but it is so much more than that, because I do believe that to be a writer you have to be a reader. We see it all the time in young people. Those who read and are read to, have wider vocabularies and a better grasp of grammar and sentence structure than those who show no interest in reading. Without both we can’t survive.

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Kate Beddow

Words have power. Writer, coach, therapist and speaker. I work with women to create calmer, happier lives.