If we’re honest, it was inevitable. It’s still disappointing, but inevitable. The government has postponed the next phase of easing restrictions and some parts of the country have reverted to pretty much full lockdown.
Also, if we’re honest, the spectre of a second spike still lurks in the background waiting to strike. To be fair, it has never really gone away. The end (of Covid-19), it seems, is not so nigh!
The long road to recovery has just grown a little longer and we can look forward to many more months of varying degrees of restrictions.
But it hasn’t been all doom and gloom, has it? We have enjoyed a great number of positives in lockdown. Families have spent more time together. Many of us have gained a greater appreciation of what goes on in the life of other family members on a daily basis. Home schooling has brought parents and children closer and raised respect levels for teachers. In fact, there has been a huge elevation in respect for all key workers. On the whole society seems to have grown a little more tolerant and patient.
We have even been kinder to the planet. Pollution has reduced considerably since we have not been allowed to travel so much. In the UK alone CO2 emissions dropped by 30 million tonnes!
There have also been several benefits that are not so obvious, such as a dramatic increase in reading by children. The National Literacy Trust in conjunction with Puffin have produced a report that shows that children reading fiction in print has increased by 41% and on screen by 27% during lockdown.
Further analysis showed that there were significant spikes in certain genres, with adventure leading the way with a 65% increase, followed by comedy with 48% and fantasy with 40%. Kids, it seems, don’t only use video games to escape the boredom after all!
The report also provided a little insight into the mental health wellbeing of the children interviewed with 59% saying that reading made them feel better, while half of them felt that reading inspired them to dream of the future. Perhaps even more importantly, 32% admitted that reading helped to lift them when they were sad because they were separated from family and friends during lockdown.
On the downside, the gender gap in reading frequency doubled between girls and boys and, more alarmingly, the gender gap in reading enjoyment increased by five times. However, there could be a superhero ready and able to reduce those gaps: audiobooks! The findings suggest that boys enjoy audiobooks more than girls at 25% versus 22% and 51% of the boys interviewed claimed that listening to audiobooks has increased their desire to read.
The benefits of reading for children are vast and have been well documented, from emotional and mental wellbeing to language and cognitive development and everything in between. As a society we should draw comfort from the fact that they have taken it upon themselves to resort to reading in order to combat the boredom in these uncertain times.
Who knew, the kids are alright!