To mark World Book Day this coming Thursday (1 March), The Duchess of Cornwall has written an article for the Sunday Express, in which she says that parents should ‘read to your children every day of the year’, in order to improve literacy and foster a love of book.
“It is vital for children in their education and as they take their place in the grown-up world,” Camilla says. “But books can do so much more than convey facts and information, important though that is. Reading stories with children can fire their imaginations and get their brains buzzing unlike anything else.”
The Duchess touched on an issue her step-children have been speaking about in recent months: the use of social media in young people. “In a world dominated by too many screens and too much information, a day for books might sound old-fashioned.
“But maybe it’s a timely reminder of how important books and reading are, especially for children.”
She mentioned how books can “fire the imaginations” of children and “get their brains buzzing unlike anything else”.
“Reading to our children and our grandchildren is something we can all try to do every day of the year. Not only does it give us pleasure but it leads them on a voyage of discovery and enrichment that only books can bring,” she added.
Camilla visited the Brontë museum a few weeks ago, fulfilling a life-long wish to see the Brontë sisters’ home, where they wrote many of their works. She also got to finish a crowd-written manuscript of ‘Wuthering Heights’.
She works with organisations that encourage literacy and enjoyment of books in both adults and children, notably the BBC Radio 1 500 Words competition, which sees children submit short stories. To mark her 70th birthday last summer, the Royal invited children (and a bus!) to Clarence House to celebrate favoured children’s books; she is also patron of the National Literacy Trust.
The Duchess of Cornwall also spoke of the joy she had as a child, being read to by her father, whom she describes as a ‘fervent bibliophile’.
He brought characters such as ‘the dashing Scarlet Pimpernel’ or ‘inquisitive Alice’, to life ‘vividly’. “We couldn’t wait for the next instalment,” she said.
“Those evenings didn’t just pass on a lifelong love of reading; they made me, too, want to share that passion with my children and now with my grandchildren.”
We know that Camilla is a keen reader herself, and has said that her grandchildren enjoy Prince Charles’ Harry Potter voices.
“The power of a good story keeps us all turning the pages, absorbing new words and making us think,” she continued. “And through these exciting new worlds and amazing characters, they can also show us our own world and help us to understand the people who live in it.
“Not only does it give us pleasure but it leads them on a voyage of discovery and enrichment that only books can bring,” the article finished.