I’m very proud to be getting behind Booktrust‘s campaign to read every day. This is the first in a small series of posts to chat a bit more about it.

Following Booktrust’s report on two nations: the reading divide, a nation divided into page-turners or button-pushers, I gave a short radio interview about getting children reading; you can listen to it again here – Booktrust speak at about 12 minutes in, me at 1.03.

So now we know – readers are happier people!
And we know that to nurture a lifelong love of reading you’ve got to grab ’em when they’re young. Reading aloud to children, from tiny tots to children way WAY past the hurdle of being able to read independently, is the solid gold key to everything. The gift of time spent cosily together, reading, chatting, sharing; to hell with hoovering, emails can wait… this is the richest of mulches put into these little plant pots.

And how turned-off, reluctant readers will fall in love with stories and want to start reading to themselves.

I’ve been thinking a lot about strategies that work, and those that don’t.
I’m troubled by the idea of making books into a chore, something that is ‘good for you’ but dreary, requiring a treat as a reward. Read for twenty minutes, then you can play on your game for an hour: eat up your greens, then you can have cake. Or, even worse, ‘TURN THAT TV OFF AND GO AND READ A BOOK.’ As the very words leave our mouths how badly we shoot ourselves in the foot, what negative messages we are giving! Reading IS cake!

I prefer to see books and screen-time completely separated and unassociated. Don’t let it show that one is considered virtuous, the other just low-brow tat.
But, BUT… realistically, there are moments when we do need some leverage, and the lure of the screen seems sometimes to have a hold like crack cocaine.

How do you combine square-eyed fun with reading in your family, what works for you?

(ps now I have photographed my props it’s the doughnut I’ve got my eye on…
some broccoli, anyone?)