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The Gift of Reading

Posted on Jan 21, 2013

This Post is the result of many things  in my life colliding:
* a baby about to be born in our local acquaintances
* a lesson on language development I need to create for sixth-formers
*  Read It Daddy! ‘s READ IT! Mummies & Daddies  2013 campaign.

While I was thinking about what to write in support of the campaign, I read Polly from Little Wooden Horse’s contribution , who pointed out that readers of children book blogs are unlikely to need convincing on the advantages of reading to young children. She is so right, of course. I don’t need to tell YOU all this. You know, you agree. But what about other parents, or parents-to-be? Do they?  So I thought I could write about ways to brainwash encourage others to read to their children, from as early as possible.

Show this video
Show it to every one!
I will be showing it to a bunch of year 12 students and will to try my best not to well up. I dare you not to be moved by little Maia’s growing love of books and reading.

Buy the future parents a book
When you find a friend/family member/acquaintance is expecting, buy them a book. The wonderful Babies Need Books by Dorothy Butler was my bible while I was writing my dissertation but unfortunately it is now out of print. There is also Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. The Reading Bug by Paul Jennings (see my review here) is fabulous and should be read by all parents.

But if you don’t want to come over too preachy, the most powerful book  that you could give to a parent-to-be however, in my humble opinion, is the absolutely wonderful – and yet next to unknown in this country – Read to Your Bunny by Rosemary Wells. It is a tiny picture book, based on her poem:

Read to Your Bunny often,
It’s twenty minutes of fun.
It’s twenty minutes of moonlight,
And twenty minutes of sun.
Twenty old-favourite minutes,
Twenty minutes brand-new,
Read to your bunny often,
And …
Your bunny will read to you.

A newborn gift

When my two children were born, I would have had to change them three times a day for them to wear all the clothes they were bought as gifts. Who needs so many clothes? Instead, why not buy a little bundle of books, possibly nicely presented in a basket, as a newborn gift, to help to start off their own library.
This is something I have already done (I wrote a post about it here) and I am about to do again, as we have acquaintances who have a baby due this week.


This really makes a lovely gift, and it does not have to cost the earth either (the above all came from Red House).

If the newborn is close family or born to close friends, how about committing to buying them a book a month throughout their first year?

Throw a Bring-A Book-Baby Shower

I know Baby showers are an American thing, but this is such a great idea, I just have got to mention it. You could also organise this as a leaving do for someone about to go on maternity leave – tea, cakes, and bring your favourite children’s book.  There are some amazing ideas on the web if you do a quick search.

This could easily be adapted for a naming ceremony or religious celebration, or even a first birthday party.

I just wish I had thought of that when my two were born!

So there you go. You will have probably have thought or done of all of those already.
But I can’t help thinking that if each newborn had a book fairy, we wouldn’t face the dreadful reality of children not being able to read, and not being able to enjoy books.


Don’t forget to join Read It Daddy’s Campaign!

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6 Comments

  1. Absolutely fantastic! If I could give you a standing ovation over the internet I would. So beautifully written and passionate about the very thing the campaign was started for – the joy of reading and that unbeatable feeling of having your child hanging on your every word as you read a brilliant story.

    Thanks for your support and massive thanks for such a brilliant post!

    • Thank you, you are really kind, but more importantly well done you for starting the campaign!

  2. I LOVE the idea of everyone having a book fairy! I think if you asked me what I’d like to be when I grew up, my new answer would be BOOK FAIRY 🙂
    Thanks for writing such a brilliant post. Whilst I’ve read the Butler, Fox and Jennings books, I hadn’t even heard of the Rosemary Wells book and will be ordering it ASAP, so I’m really grateful to you for alerting me to its existence!

    • I know, right? I think book fairy would be the BEST job!
      I can’t believe the Rosemary Wells book is virtually unknown here. I have had my copy for years, but can’t actually remember how I came across it in the first place.

  3. You mean you didn’t change your newborns 3 times a day? I think both M and J got through that many with “accidents” and so on 😉 But seriously, you’re so right. Your suggestions are super – I hope the session with 6th formers goes really well.

    • Well, yes, I did. You know what I mean LOL.
      I am a bit worried about that lesson I have to say. Eeek!

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