I can’t imagine life without books, they’ve surrounded, and in many ways, defined my timeline. I was the sort of kid who read the backs of cereal boxes at the breakfast table. I love the fact that when you go to University, you ‘read’ your chosen degree. I read Classical Studies – pretty much the history of stories, art and culture. I still can’t get used to a Kindle – it has to be paper to be a proper book. I’ve been the founding members of two book clubs. My mum is a professional storyteller. There is no chance my kid isn’t going to grow up without access to books.
So, when I heard about Routes to Reading and got the chance to meet some of its team recently, I was really enthused. Routes to Reading is a place where anybody with plans to bring books into a child’s life can go to get inspiration, advice, and reading material. Its aim is to arm parents, carers, grandparents et al, not just with books, but with the confidence and creativity to imprint a thirst for reading onto children from the earliest age possible. During my conversation with Ruth and Sandee, two of the team, we spoke about how lots of people don’t know when the right age is to start reading to their baby, or what sort of books they should begin with. Then there’s the issue of reading aloud. I know a lot of people who find that a bit daunting. Most of us hate the sound of our own voice. We even worry that we’re not ‘reading it right’.
So, Routes to Reading provides guides to the books they provide, with tips for each age group and ways to make reading as enticing as possible for the reader and the listener. It’s a great idea, I think. I love the way its website is set out, you can search for books by subject (a new sibling, for example) or by format (block books, sensory books, etc). You can buy books individually from the Little Ones Library, or have a batch delivered to you every month with the Baby Book Club, complete with reading guides. This would be a pretty cool gift.
Tibbs has tried out a few books on the Routes to Reading list. My favourite so far is Toddle Waddle, a Julia Donaldson classic. It’s taught her some new words to shout and mimic, including trumpet and flip flop.
Through a Tweet today from Routes to Reading I’ve been inspired to start a new Christmas tradition – a book Advent Calendar – a different book every day in the run up to Christmas. I’m going to hit up the charity shops and jumble sales for some classics old and new, I think it’ll be something we can really enjoy doing together every year.
If you’re looking for any quick inspiration for reading to children, or would like to hear a story told by another parent, check out the Routes to Reading video library too.