How and why to raise a reader!

If you know me or if you have been reading my PlayWorth Blog, you will know that I am very passionate about the importance of Early Years Education. What you may not know is that I also have a passion for writing; it has always been a source of comfort for me and a creative outlet. During the coronavirus lockdown for example, I wrote a lot of poetry as a way to cope with what was happening; maybe I’ll share it on my website one day. For me, writing creates an escape to another world which I lose myself in, much like being read a story does for children.

Books and doors are the same thing. You open them, and you go through into another world.

Jeanette Winterson

Reading and mental health

Being able to escape to another world through reading books, is something that all children should be able to experience. Not just for the educational benefits but also it can help them with their mental health; such as anxiety, insecurities and just the ups and downs of every day life, to name a few! And it is something that needs to be instilled from an early age. A love of reading and a love of books comes from their foundation years, where they find joy in the brightly coloured pictures as you read the words. They find comfort in the time they spend with their important grown-ups when sharing books, and they learn from the concepts within the pages. They feel safe and the comfort stays with them when reading, even as adults.

As adults we can turn to books to help children with the following;

  • Conquering developmental challenges such as toileting or starting school.
  • Learning to understand their feelings and the feelings of others.
  • Coping with big changes in life such as moving house, death of a loved one, the birth of a new sibling, and divorce.
  • Understanding the world and it’s differences, such as different cultures.

Learning to read

Children who have fostered a love of reading from an early age, have more motivation and persistence to learn to read for themselves. Many parents worry about their child’s reading ability in their early school years, but I have always reassured them that so long as a love of reading and a love of books is there, and so long as they are regularly sharing books with their children, then the skill of reading should happen in time.

It is also important to note the other ways that reading is taught, apart from reading books;

  • Children can be encouraged to notice that print is all around them, when they are out and about; on road signs, shop names and buses, for example.
  • Having a conversation with a child about pictures in books; encouraging them to think about what is happening, explaining what they see and answering questions to further their understanding of the story.
  • Acting out their favourite stories as a way of retelling and sequencing; encouraging them to use repeated phrases from the story or important words and character names.
  • When age-appropriate, children will begin to understand the letters and sounds (phonics) which build the words they will learn to read and write.
  • Sharing their favourite comics and magazines counts as reading too!

Born to Fly

Reading to children can help them to learn and develop in so many ways; such as their language development, their imagination and creativity, learning about the world, and understanding their own feelings and emotions, for example. As a teacher I found I could turn to stories to introduce almost every subject from literacy, to science, and even maths! I have always admired the authors behind these wonderful children’s books, of which I have read so many, both to the children I have taught and to my own children. It is therefore not surprising that I have always dreamed of becoming a children’s book author myself. It combines my two great passions -helping young children to be inspired and to learn, and disappearing into another world when I write!

Well I am very proud of myself because I have achieved just that. I have published my first children’s book, Born to Fly!

Born to Fly

Written and Illustrated by


Available on Amazon now!

The book is about a caterpillar who watches his friends fly, and he dreams of flying too; the story follows his journey to realising his dream. Sound familiar? Yes, turns out this book is relatable for adults too as I have since realised that I relate to the caterpillar! I never thought that would be a sentence I’d be writing, but alas it is true! I have admired other authors for a long time but now I have found my author-wings, I am ‘full of shock and pride’ and I’d love for you to journey with me as I fly!

I wonder if you too can relate to a caterpillar? What are your dreams which you are determined to achieve? What were you born to do but are yet to accomplish? Or maybe you have already grown your wings? I’d love to hear about it, so make sure you comment below!

Journey with H.J.Hurworth by subscribing to her PlayWorth Blog on her website or by following her on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok by searching HJHurworth, or clicking the links below!

‘Born to Fly’ by H.J.Hurowrth is available now on

Amazon or via

… a unique book, not to be missed!

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