Categories
Books children parenting reading supporting others World Book Day

Reading to children

Cartoon style pile of hardback books

After I posted my World Book Day post last week I was asked if I could include these statistics:

Did you know: Reading to your child for 20 minutes a day can increase their lifetime earnings by £280,000?

Despite this: Only 18% of new parents read to their children for 20 minutes a day (In The Book reading survey, 2020)

https://www.inthebook.com/en-gb/blog/benefits-of-reading-to-children/

But I felt like the topic was took large to just add to an already published blog post so I’ve written this.

I read to mine from the moment they were born, not only did I read picture books but storybooks, may of which were above their reading age. Also when they were babies, especially with my daughter who preferred to sleep in my arms, I would read myself whilst she slept. But I did not read to mine to increase their earning potential. I read to mine because I enjoy books and enjoy reading.

Even though I was a single parent I chose to home school both mine. This meant that there were a lot of reading opportunities. Every subject we covered involved reading and, as home education is a family activity so was the reading in it.

One of our most enjoyable moments in each month was when the Horrible Histories comic would arrive. We could sit on the couch, read through the magazine and then do the quizzes and activities within it together. I read to them most bedtimes until they were in their teens. I found it was a great way to settle us all down for the evening, but it also gave me a chance to read out loud some of my old childhood favourites, and read some of the children’s books they were reading. Often we would have a novel that I would read to them and then they would read to themselves.

So why do only 18% of new parents read to their children for only 20 mins a day? I think it is because we expect so much more from parents now compared to when mine were smaller. My husband’s friends are career people who work long hours, make sure their kids are having lots of extra curricular experiences but then when everyone gets home they are tired and ready to unplug, so TV is a go-to. And I don’t blame them. I think being a home schooling single mum I had two advantages. One I was not trying to fit in a career around my children’s lives but also I was not having to fit another adult relationship into my life. I had lots of space to read, both to them and for myself.

I believe instead of condemning new parents for not reading more to their children we need to spend time with them and find out why. For a working parent it is hard to get to a library that is open at a time that works for them, because many libraries only have done day a week where they open late and this may not be on an evening they are free. As has been found over lockdown many people, even though they have more time, have had less head-space to get lost in a book. Reading takes focused energy and many avid readers over this time have struggled to read. Imagine if reading is not your first activity to unwind, then imagine you are working all day and trying to run a home too? Where is the time? Where is the head-space?

So I do think instead of saying this isn’t happening we need to find out why, need to find a way to help these new, and not so new, parents, find time to read to their children, and also to be able to read themselves. As someone said the best way to get kids to read is for them to see their parents reading.

8 Benefits of Reading are:

Enhances their literacy and reading skills

Enhances their language skills

Creates a stronger parent-child bond

Better concentration and discipline

Improves performance in school

Widens their imagination

Promotes healthy brain development

Keeps them entertained 

https://www.inthebook.com/en-gb/blog/benefits-of-reading-aloud/

I don’t believe parents don’t read to their children because they don’t want to but because they cannot find that opening into reading themselves. There are many great websites out there to help.

But really as a society we need to ask ourselves how we can stop condemning and instead ask how we can support

How can we find a way to support them?

Categories
Bible Books God The little yellow book trust World Book Day

World Book Day 2021

Front cover of the book the Little Yellow Boat by Diane Woodrow, illustrated by Danielle Chapman-Skaines
Available to purchase at all online outlets

I think an appropriate start to a post around World Book Day would be to give myself a big shout out!

A week ago today I published my first book. It is a children’s picture book which was accepted by the three publishers I sent it to leaving me to pick the contract I liked best. Read more about it on my growing website https://aspirationaladventure.com/little-yellow-boat/. Or follow its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LittleYellowBoatBook This is my dream come true – both publishing the book and growing my own website.

World Book Day comes with lovely memories of my children eagerly awaiting the actually date to go and spend their £1 book day tokens. The tokens would arrive from our favourite home education support group a week or two early but my two would wait until it was actually World Book Day before spending them. They never bought the book that was the one especially put together for that specific World Book Day, which only cost £1. Instead they would add their own pocket money to the token and would spend ages in our favourite independent bookshop searching until they had found just the right book. It was delightful. And came only second to the delight of discovering that my daughter had taught herself to read when she was about three years old in the “book cave” I had designed for them.

Both my two are still avid book readers even though not as much as myself. I devour books. Last year I read over 100 different books which I posted on Instagram and I’m hoping to read as many this year. For me and for my children, and most readers I know, books are a way of not just escaping but of learning about new worlds, people one wouldn’t meant in regular life, or reading about how others think and feel which taps into how we think. For myself I come away from a book with greater wisdom about myself and others, whether historical figures or contemporary. Books give one connection to something bigger than just ordinary life, which I think has been so important in these lockdown time.

One of my exciting finds this year has been the Shelter Box Book Club [https://www.shelterbox.org/book-club/] which with a monthly subscription sends out a book from an author from a part of the world Shelter is working in. Through these books I am going all across the world learning about diverse cultures. To learn more about my reading over the past year check out https://aspirationaladventure.com/2021/01/13/2020-goals-100-books/

As I was pondering this and knowing I was going to be posting it on to the Godspace site I was thinking how I could tie in God. Well of course Jesus is “The Word” which is actually isn’t so very different to a book. I believe each reader reads a book differently. We all dive in with our own ideas, thoughts, life experiences and prejudices and read the story through that. As I pondered this I felt that this is what we all do with Jesus if we choose to dive into him. I do not believe we can get to know Jesus without bringing our own stuff with us. I believe that is why Jesus isn’t a static word but “the living word” because we all change who he is by what we pour into him from us, and he then changes who we are by what we take away. .

I also think this makes God even more amazing than ever. When I wrote my book I had an idea not just what it meant but how I hoped people would feel about it, and what they get from it. It is only a 34 page children’s picture book but I still want to sit with each person and tell them how it should be impacting their lives. Yet God released his Son, the living word, as well as the Bible, into the hands of people. People who were going to read and interpret it through their own lens. I know we sit with God and explore his word with him but I don’t believe he ever dictates to us what we should get from him.

I believe God trusts each of us to read his Son and his Bible through who we are, through our own lens, through are own life experiences. And I think that we need to trust others to read through their own life lens and listen to what each other learns. Maybe we need to read the Bible and share what we’ve learned as we would a book club that would make a difference to our growth as followers of Jesus? We should not listen to what others are learning so we can tell them where they are wrong but, as with the book club idea so that we can learn about them, learn from them – and maybe in the process learn about ourselves just as we do when reading a well written novel.

Categories
Books family reading World Book Day

World Book Day is on Thursday 4th March

This is a pile of books that I need to read my way through for the Celtic Studies MA I am attempting

It is going to be World Book Day on Thursday and I’ve got a post going on GodSpaceLight which I will post on Thursday but this is a preliminary to remind everyone to be prepared to spend a day immersed in a book to celebrate.

I used to love World Book Day. I say used to because it was something to do with the kids who are now all grown up. Not that my kids ever needed encouraging to read. We spent a lot of time with no TV so once they were old enough they would curl up in a chair and read. In fact my daughter taught herself to read! Yes it is true. In the bedroom her and her brother shared there was an alcove which I had painted as a book cave with a bookshelf on the end wall. It wasn’t big but there was room for a small child to curl up on the floor. She would often be found there at 7am looking through books. One day she told me she could read. Because of where we were living I know she was between 3-4 years old. Because I read to them each night I thought she’d just remembered the words so we walked down to the library – which was one of those lovely old fashioned ones that was in an old Victorian house with bay windows. Not big but the children’s section was adequate. I got her brother to choose a picture book. One that we had not had before. She read it through. He then chose another one and another. Yes she did stumble over words she had not seen before but that child could read.

So even though World Book Day was set up to encourage reluctant readers my two loved it. From HEAS, our home education support group, we would be sent two £1 vouchers. These could be exchanged for the designated World Book of that year, with either a short story by a famous author, or snippets from other books to entice the reader to something new. My two would take their tokens to our local independent bookshop with some pocket money and then spend a good hour working out what they wanted to buy. There was often discussion between the two of them so that what one bought the other could also read. That was until my son got more and more into books about the World Wars or more modern conflicts. I think he still read hers though as she stay mainly into mythologies and he’s always loved those – probably because they have good fight scenes. 🙂

Like I say they are both all grown up. He’s getting married when covid allows. She’s living with us whilst on furlough as our house is warmer than her flat. But this Christmas he bought her a book and for his birthday later this month she’s buying a book for him.

Both do not read as voraciously as they did. My son blames his fixation with Facebook which he has given up for this year – hence the need to have a book! Both of them love to have books around them. My daughter, even though she on such a limited income with furlough, and having to pay for a flat she’s not living in, is still planning to buy some books because she loves to own them. I am much more of a library person and have stacks of books from the library. I even have a dispensation that I can borrow more than the allotted twenty.

So for me World Book day holds those bitter sweet memories that all mother’s have when their children have grown up, were they miss what was but that they can see that they have done something right.