World Book Day

World Book Day is a holiday with a simple mission: to change lives through shared reading and a love of books. To promote reading not only as a way to acquire information but also as a pleasure. One of the biggest indicators of any child’s success is whether they read for pleasure. To get more children reading just for fun, World Book Day was created.

This holiday takes place on April 23rd in most places in the world, and on the first Thursday in March in the U.K. This day works to establish a love of literature and to promote reading. It’s a holiday also known as International Day of the Book, World Book Days, and World Book & Copyright Day.

The Storied History of World Book Day

In 1995, at UNESCO’s General Conference, it was decided that April 23rd would be named World Book and Copyright Day as a way to pay tribute to books and authors. It was also determined that this day would be good for encouraging everyone to read and enjoy the pleasures that go along with it.

April 23rd was chosen because that is the date when Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, Vladimir Nabokov, Maurice Druon, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. All of them are famous authors.

Facts About Books & Reading

Since we’re going to assume that everyone reading about this holiday is a fan of books and reading, we decided that we would list some of the facts and pieces of trivia we discovered about both. So get ready for some learning because we’re going to lay some on you today.

Children Who Read At Home Do Better In School

Several studies have shown that children who read at least one million words a year are in the top two percent of reading achievement. While that might seem like a lot of reading, it actually isn’t that much. It only takes about 20 minutes a day for a child to reach 1.8 million words in a year.

It’s not only important for children to read, but it’s also important for them to have their own books and not have to depend on books they receive from school or check out of the library. It’s been shown that when a child has 20 books or more in their home bookshelf, they’re more likely to achieve an extra 3 years of schooling than children who don’t.

Children Expand Their Vocabulary Through Reading

Children expand their vocabulary greatly through reading. Just how many words can a child add to their vocabulary from reading? It’s been estimated that the average child will add 4,000 to 12,000 new words each year as a result of reading.

Low Literacy Costs Society A Ton Of Money

It’s been estimated that low levels of literacy cost the U.S. about $73 billion every year in direct health care costs. About 43% of Americans in prison do not have a high school diploma or GED, and about 56% of them have low literacy skills.

School Children Aren’t As Literate As They Should Be

The United States has a serious literacy issue. Only about two-thirds of eighth-graders can read at grade level, and only about a third of students entering high school are proficient in reading. In all 50 states, boys lag behind girls in reading proficiency—sometimes by as much as 10 full percentage points.

And the trend continues through college. Only about a third of college graduates have high literacy skills. If these trends continue, then by 2030 the American workforce will be unskilled and unable to meet the demands of the global job market.

School Literature Collections Matter

Every classroom should be equipped with a collection of literature. Studies have shown that children in classrooms with literature collections will read 50% more than classrooms that don’t have them.

World Book Day Customs & Traditions

This annual event isn’t celebrated on April 23rd in all countries. In some countries, it conflicts with other holidays or events. For instance, it conflicted with the Easter school holidays in the U.K., so it is celebrated on the first Thursday in March in the United Kingdom. In Sweden, it is normally observed on April 23rd, but in 2000 and 2011, it was moved so it wouldn’t conflict with Easter.

Many places all over the world offer plays and special readings to encourage children to read. In the United Kingdom, children can purchase special books for £1 using a National Book Token at one of the many participating booksellers and publishers. Those who want to purchase a book that isn’t on the special list can get a £1 discount on a full-price book instead.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 23 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
April 23 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
April 23 Sunday
Education & Reading, United Nations