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    STERV   FI0009005961


Delayed Nasdaq Helsinki  -  11:29 2022-11-25 am EST
14.05 EUR   -0.74%
11/25Stora Enso - In the future, car batteries can be made from trees and this is why European EV and battery manufacturers should care
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11/24Stora Enso Oyj : In the future, car batteries can be made from trees – and this is why European EV and battery manufacturers should care
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Stora Enso - From picturebooks to novels, why children's reading is a positive lifelong journey

09/21/2022 | 10:43am EST

Getting children into reading comes with multiple benefits.

But with so many digital distractions, what's the best way to encourage them to read

Reading - just like eating nutritious food and taking regular exercise -is widely regarded as one of those things that we should all just do.

Study after study shows that prolific readers have broader vocabularies (helpful in all walks of life), land better-paying jobs, benefit from lower levels of stress and more.

All of which makes getting kids into reading sound like an excellent idea.

In fact, says Diana Gerald, CEO of UK children's reading charity BookTrust, little ones who read are happier, healthier, more empathetic, and more creative. 'They also do better at school,' she says.

A rising tide of distractions

Unfortunately, the volume of 'other things' that can distract a youngster from reading has never been greater.

Shockingly, almost two-thirds of children in the UK now have a smartphone - in Finland the fraction is even higher. A recent study found that almost all seven-year-old Finns have a smartphone.

This, says Minna Torppa, an expert in children's reading at the University of Jyvaskyla, is an issue. 'When I was growing up, there wasn't much to do but run around the forest or read books,' she notes. 'Even TV wasn't all that entertaining not too long ago!'

Smartphones can, of course, provide reading material - but Torppa says the research shows that shorter texts and social media posts just don't have the same benefits as reading novels.

The answer is to get children interested in reading books at the earliest possible age.

Bonding and brain development

It's never too soon for parents to start reading with a child, says Gerald. 'Reading together at an early age can help with brain development and be a great way for families to bond with children,' she says.

It's also the perfect springboard for a lifelong reading routine. A BookTrust survey of more than 5,000 families found that a child is more likely to be reading regularly on their own throughout childhood if they are surrounded by people who read to them.

Parents, therefore, play a critical role. Adds Torppa: 'When parents read with their little ones before children can read themselves, that's where we see the biggest impact. It leads to an improvement in the child's language and vocabulary, and we've seen the benefits of this at school even up to the age of 15.'

There are other advantages beyond the academic. During the 2020 coronavirus lockdowns, for example, research by the UK's National Literacy Trust found that 60 per cent of children said that reading made them feel better.

How to raise a reader

Minna Torppa has three tips to get us off on the right foot if we want to get our little ones reading more. The first, she says, is to find out what interests the child. 'The subject needs to be interesting if we want reading to become a voluntary activity,' she explains.

Next, we should ensure that reading is seen as a positive, shared activity - a fun thing to do as opposed to a chore. 'Thirdly,' Torppa adds, 'children need to feel competent, so the level of the book needs to be suitable. Don't aim too high.'

For her part, Gerald suggests adding silly voices to give characters an extra dimension, as well as letting children choose which books to read. 'And remember,' she says, 'you don't have to wait until bedtime to read together. Storytime can be anywhere, anytime.'

Getting children into reading is such an important topic that you don't have to search too hard for advice. Earlier this year, for instance, the UK Government published a whole list of top tips for parents - one of the best being to 'bring books to life'.

The example they give is to play a game where you pretend to be characters in a book you've just read. Expanding on this, they suggest making reading 'active' - perhaps by creating a treasure hunt based on whatever you're reading together.

Taking the initiative today

The most important tip, though, is to actually do it. While we all know that reading is something that children should be encouraged to do, the sad truth is that some of us fall at the first hurdle.

'Ninety-six percent of the families we spoke to said that it was important to them that their child reads,' says Gerald, 'yet 33 per cent said they don't see reading as a big part of their family life.'

One solution, therefore, would be to raise children in an environment where books form part of the fabric of everyday life. And that's something that can easily be achieved by parents reading more - by rediscovering a lapsed love of burying your nose in a good book.

As the New York Times said in an article about getting children into books, 'If you want to raise a reader, be a reader.'

In other words: monkey see, monkey do!

Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world. We believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Stora Enso has approximately 22,000 employees and our sales in 2021 were EUR 10.2 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm AB (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY).


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