Word therapy

Book advocate Kris Williams says reading is great for children’s mental health.

AN entertaining video series shot in Bull Creek, Melville and Fremantle aims to get more youngsters reading books.

Reading for the Heart and Mind features some of the best children’s authors and illustrators in WA talking about the mental health benefits to kids and young adults from reading.

The five part series is targeted at parents, teachers and librarians, giving them strategies to get more children picking up books.

Featured authors include Josh Langley, whose books help to foster self-worth and resilience in kids, and Kris Williams who lives in Bull Creek and is WA secretary of The Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Ms Williams says it’s important to start reading to kids as young as possible.

“You need to start very, very young; a lot of people read to kids while they’re still in the womb,” she says.

“It’s really important because they get to know sounds, they get to know words, they get to know language. Later on it sparks imagination and curiosity.” 

Mr Langley says it creates a deep bond between parent and child.

“When reading to kids it’s the connection you make,” he says.

“When you ask someone what was the most important time they had as a kid? They always say ‘When my parents read to me.’”

Mr Langley is a mental health advocate and wrote the award-winning Being You is Enough, while Ms Williams has more than 20 years experience working with authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult books.

She says supporting young people’s mental health has never been more important in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.

An initiative by the WA branch of The Children’s Book Council of Australia, Reading for the Heart and Mind covers reading to children, imagination, curiosity, resilience and self-acceptance. 

There’s also a link to featured books by WA authors and a reading list where people can learn more about the topics discussed. 

To watch the videos go to wa.cbca.org.au/reading-heart-mind.html

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