From last minute “how am I going to make an elaborate [insert character here] outfit by tomorrow?” panics, to worries around the cost of pre-made costumes, it’s fair to say that some might find World Book Day a little stressful. With that in mind, we thought it was worth taking the time to reflect on why WBD exists, and why it’s more important than ever.

1. It’s fun, it’s pleasurable, and reading for pleasure has a bounty of benefits

First up, World Book Day is FUN! It celebrates the life-enhancing, life-affirming power of stories. It showcases the (metaphoric) magical powers of writers. It rejoices in reading for pleasure, and we all know how important that is.

While the clue’s right there in the name (pleasure’s a good thing, right?), it’s also a proven fact that developing a reading habit after discovering the pleasure of reading has a host of positive impacts on children’s development.

For example, research reveals that reading for pleasure is more important in child cognitive development than socio-economic background. Studies have also shown that children who read often at the age of ten, and more than once a week at the age of sixteen, achieve higher results in maths and vocab tests at the age of sixteen than peers who read less.

There’s also evidence that 16-year-olds who read for pleasure are more likely to bag better paid jobs later in life.

Academic achievement and economic prospects aside, reading also enhances empathy and imaginative thinking, which makes for better communication skills, and a richer life.

And the power of reading for pleasure doesn’t stop there. It moves beyond being beneficial to kids’ development to having lifelong paybacks, as revealed in our feature on why reading is good for you.

All that considered, WBD’s celebration of books, reading and the magic of stories has huge significance, and all the more so when you consider our second point…

2. WBD gives children the chance to choose and own their own book

A whopping 50 million £1 tokens are distributed to young people ahead of WBD so they can feel the joy of choosing and owning their own book. While this is a wonderful thing for all kids, in the context of the sobering fact that almost 6% of young people don’t have a book of their own at home (that’s 413,068 children and young people in the UK), this is especially valuable. 

A survey by the National Literacy Trust also revealed that book ownership correlates with enhanced reading enjoyment. In terms of the numbers, of those surveyed, 52.8% of book owners said they enjoyed reading. That fell to 21.2% for respondents who don’t own a book.

3. Many schools have no book budget, and kids need new books

More sobering facts: one in four UK schools are unable to balance their budget. Only 44% of schools say their finances are sufficient to deliver their strategic priorities for pupils. And more than 60% of classrooms have no budget for new books.

In this context, World Book Day provides pupils with their personal new book to take home, which is wonderful and valuable for the reasons outlined above.

But of course, schools also desperately need new books so students have access to new stories year-round. Which is where LoveReading’s bookshop with social purpose comes in. When you buy a book from LoveReading and LoveReading4Kids, 25% of the cover price can be donated to a school of your choice. When you checkout, you can select your chosen school. They can then spend their funds on  LoveReading4Kids.

Even if the buyer doesn’t nominate or have an affinity with a school, 10% of the spend will be donated to schools in need, in deprived areas. Schools can apply for this Funding Scheme. It’s open to state funded primaries and secondaries with a particular set of needs, and the funding can be spent on books. Schools can apply to receive this funding pot via our LoveReading4Kids Funding for Schools Scheme, and you can find out more here

4. WBD brings books to life for everyone 

Often having a focus on social activities and events that bring books to life (dressing up, author visits, book-themed assemblies, big class reads), WBD offers children and young people fresh ways of engaging with books, and stories more generally. 

That’s to say, this celebratory, social vibe shows the magic stories have beyond the page. While reading is often a solo activity, it can translate to something to share, to shout about, and be inspired by. That’s the magic of books, that’s the magic of WBD, which brings us full circle — World Book Day celebrates the life-enhancing, life-affirming power of stories, which can only be a very good thing indeed.