To me a house without books is like a garden without flowers.
As a parent, you can give child one of the most valuable gifts through reading, sharing books and stories and encouraging them to read.
Reading gives you the opportunity to spend quality time together; sharing stories, pictures, poems. Reading gives your child a help in hand in those early years at school and beyond. Reading ignites the imagination and can take you to places that are beyond your wildest dreams. Escapism, enchantment, education, what parent would not want to encourage their children to read?
In a world that is so dominated by computers and computer games, I am so proud that I have four children who all love reading. Even though he is approaching his eighteenth birthday, the teenager is still an avid reader and not only that, he is hoping to do an English based course at university.
Like his older brother, R devours books and has been known to read a book in a couple of days if the story really grips him. He is never happier than when he has a good book on the go.
We have made huge progress with L as he has been the most ‘reluctant’ reader in the house. He learnt to read really quickly and never had any problems with the actual reading, he just got very bored with what was on offer at school. Coupled with a very dominant stubborn streak, we have had a long and hard battle to get him back into reading and we used different ways to get him reading; articles on the iPad, newspaper articles about sport, non-fiction books such as record books that he seemed to like and anything that he took an interest in. He is now a ‘free reader’ at school and is enjoying some of the books that we have here, with the occasional Mr Men book every now and then.
Little Miss A is still very young, however, she will not go to sleep without at least one story at bedtime and is now starting to take a real interest in the letters and words which I am hoping is the start of another bookworm in the family.
Where does their love of reading come from? Me. Well mainly me. I have always been an avid reader ever since I was very young. Even now I still get that overwhelming feeling emptiness when I have read a brilliant book and I want it to carry on, I’ve enjoyed it so much. Like me, the children read all sorts of books and I hope that I have encouraged them by always having a range of different books around the house, always reading to them from a very young age, referring to books if we need information about a particular topic, taking them on regular trips to the library.
So why I am talking about the importance of reading today? Today, Save the Children are launching a new campaign to coincide with Children’s Book Week to change the story for UK’s poorest children. Statistics show that children living in poverty are falling behind at school and shockingly 1 in 4 poor children left primary school without the essential reading and writing skills and I know from my own experiences as a teacher, without those skills, children struggle to keep up in their other subjects too.
Save the Children along with Beanstalk want to change this and their new campaign Born to Read is raising awareness of these issues and they are aiming to recruit 20,000 ‘change makers’ over the next four years to try and reach these children and help them to fulfill their potential.
- Campaigning to get manifesto commitments from all political parties before the 2015 to ensure that every child leaves primary school with a good education including being a confident reader. Campaigning with Save the Children will help make change right at the top and ensure that there is political commitment and plans for tackling this problem over the next few years.
- Volunteering with Save the Children’s programmes, working face to face with children to help them to catch up if they are struggling with reading, grow in confidence and improve their chances of success in school. As Save the Children’s programmes grow, we will offer opportunities to volunteer to support us in targeted areas.
- Fundraising to help us expand our programmes to reach more children in schools right across the UK, giving them a better start.
- Being the first to know about new projects, events and opportunities around our UK work
If you are interested in being a ‘change maker’ or you would like to find our more about this campaign and how you could help, please go to the Save the Children website and take a look. It could be something as simple as giving up a couple of hours a week to go and read with children in school, something small that could make a huge difference.
All children should be given the same start in life, whatever their background and no child should ever be left behind.