'Book of wonders' to help bridge the gap between boys' and girls' enjoyment of reading
A new educational resource, aimed at children aged 5-11 years old, has been released today, presenting a more balanced approach to the relationship between faith and science. Book of Wonders, which has been produced in partnership between Scripture Union and the Faraday Institute, brings faith and science together to help explore the wonders of the world around us.
The perceived conflict between science and faith has long been a narrative that has informed the educational curriculum, but the team behind Book of Wonders argue that this doesn’t have to be the accepted position. Book of Wonders encourages children to consider faith and sciences together.
Myles MacBean, National Director of Scripture Union England & Wales, who has a PhD in physics says, “The world around us is full of amazing examples of the creativity of God and the wonders of science. This book presents the faith-filled and the scientific side by side as part of the same story. My young grandson loved the bright pictures, and I know older children will love discovering the facts and information that fills every page.”
Dr Francis Collins, who earlier this year was awarded the Templeton Prize and continues to lead efforts to combat COVID-19 in the US, was recently quoted in National Geographic stating, "Science and faith can actually be mutually enriching and complementary once their proper domains are understood and respected. Extreme cartoons representing antagonistic perspectives on either end of the spectrum are often the ones that get attention, but most people live somewhere in the middle.”
It is this motivation that drove Scripture Union and the Faraday Institute to partner on Book of Wonders to create a resource that schools, libraries, churches and families can use to engage children of all ages in discovering how faith and science work in harmony.
Additionally, it is their hope that Book of Wonders can help redress the gender imbalance in engagement with reading. A recent study by the National Literacy Trust found that the reading enjoyment gap between boys and girls has increased five-fold – from just over a two percentage point difference at the start of 2020 to an 11.5 percentage point difference during lockdown.
Three in five girls (60.2%) said they enjoyed reading during lockdown, compared with 48.9% before, and while more boys did say they enjoyed reading amid the pandemic (48.7% compared with 46.6% pre-lockdown), the gap has grow much wider between the genders.
Scripture Union believe that resources like Book Of Wonders can help address that gap, MacBean continues, “Book of Wonders is a perfect resource for any child who might prefer non-fiction books like this. Studies show it can be harder to get boys reading in primary schools than girls, so we want this to aid teachers in engaging them in a meaningful way. Whether Book of Wonders is in the hands of a voracious reader or one more reluctant, I hope that it brings a deeper sense of awe and admiration for the created world around us.”
Book of Wonders is released on September 17th, alongside an activity book and is now available for pre order at: www.scriptureunion.org.uk
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