As the title of the post suggests, I’m curious. In the past couple of months, both Boo and Little Man have received Bookstart packs. I like these, and the children like these – always happy to welcome some new books into the house. Within these packs, along with books, are guides for adults. So, for example, the ‘babies love books’ guide tells us why we should read to them, and where we can get books from. Seriously, it says that. Whether this is controversial or not (and who can imagine it would be?), I really struggle to understand how any parent (any person, actually), cannot know where to get books from. It actually ties in with an observation my husband made whilst driving past a library at the weekend. Next to the library sign, it told us that we could borrow books there…for free – who knew?! (I should point out here that husband is a sign writer, so he pays attention to signs and banners far more than normal people do!). I worry that there’s a need for these guides to be written, though clearly as they exist, along with the packs, there must be?
Books are not expensive. At full price, they compare favourably to the cost of many toys, but they can easily be found in charity shops or in the big supermarkets with deals on, for 50p-£1, and then there are those free libraries. As the guides tell us, and common sense dictates, reading to our children gives them a great start in life, as well as being a lovely time of bonding where you sit there and give them your undivided attention. Even if you only have 5 minutes to give to them all day, that’s really all it takes to read a picture book or two, or a chapter of their school book.
My mum has recently retired from a job in a school, as a teaching assistant, and she’d often tell me how she had agitated parents pointing out that they hadn’t got time to listen to their children reading a book. No time at all. Just a few pages, once a week. It saddens me. It angers me. And these are the free school books, of course. I wonder how many books these children have in their homes. I’m not suggesting that a fortune be spent on them, or that hours and hours are taken up with them (though I should admit that I think we will spend a fair bit on them here, and we will happily be wiling away hours on them), but a book or two, the odd trip to the library, surely that’s worth a little effort?
As you’ll probably realise, I’m passionate about reading. I love books myself (as a busy mum, if someone offered me a few hours to myself, I know I’d already be heading to my bookshelves to choose which book I’d be enjoying in my little respite!) and I believe every child should have plenty to escape into magical worlds with. A chance to learn so many things. The amount of non-fiction books they can enjoy is fantastic, too, and they seem so much more interesting now than when I was little (which wasn’t that long ago). I’d have loved the Horrible Histories books. I love history, so I’m looking forward to introducing Boo to them when she’s old enough.
Anyway, I digress. I’m asking, does reading feature as a priority in your home, or is it time-consuming and becoming outdated? How do you feel about the expense of reading?