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  • How to go from reluctant reader to bookworm in 40 books

    It’s a rather special kid’s book that can tempt the most reluctant reader to dip their toe in the water.  Beanstalk, the literacy charity which helps children’ who have fallen behind with their reading has handpicked 40 of the most engaging kid’s books to go into their Top 40 book packs for schools. For parents who’re looking for a handy list to kick start their child’s library, Beanstalk’s Top 40 is gold dust.

    We’ve been a longtime partner of Beanstalk, and are proud that Tidy Books has been able to support Beanstalk’s brilliant work in the nation’s primary schools.  We’re delighted too, that Beanstalk has chosen a Tidy Books kid’s bookcase to showcase their Top 40 kid’s books. As author of the ‘You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum’ series Andy Stanton says:

    “I've been told many times that 'Mr Gum' has helped to get young readers started and it never fails to give me goosebumps - what a privilege it is to write for children. My stories might be silly, but I take writing and reading very seriously and am absolutely delighted to be included in Beanstalk's starter pack.”

    kids books, reluctant reader, kids bookcase, tidy books, beanstalk, kids reading, kids literacy Beanstalk's Top 40 Books in a Tidy Books Bookcase

    Beanstalk’s Top 40 books are ideal for ages 3-10 and include classics like ‘Dear Zoo’ to more contemporary books like ‘Oi Frog’  They’ve been specially selected by the Beanstalk reading helpers who see firsthand how each book catches a child’s imagination, and with the help of children’s book expert Marilynn Brocklehurst of the Norfolk Children’s Book Centre.

    Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading.  Beanstalk reading helpers work with children on a one-to-one basis, giving them their full attention and support to improve reading levels, increase overall confidence and inspire a lifelong love of reading. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoying reading is often transformed.

    Whether you have a reluctant reader or a bookworm raring to go, then Beanstalk’s Book Top 40 could the perfect place to start your little reader’s journey into books, and build their very own library.   

    You can find the Beanstalk Top 40 book list  here https://www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk/Pages/Category/beanstalk-top-40

    geraldine grandidier, tidy booksGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

     

  • A new library for Beanstalk, for Giving Tuesday

    We asked you to help Beanstalk, the children's reading charity, create a welcoming library.  Giving Tuesday,  28th November, is the perfect day to show you what you gave!

    Every person who entered our competition earlier this year helped us donate a Tidy Books product to Beanstalk's library. The library is used by reading volunteers to pick out books they think that children will enjoy. Making the books more accessible is key to helping volunteers find the perfect book to encourage a reluctant reader.

    The volunteers love their new book corner, saying: “a vast improvement”; “such a neat, clean design”; “shelves fit so perfectly”; “you could have done with these years ago!”

    Beanstalk, books, childrens books, charity the before picture - Beanstalk's library of children's books which are hard to find!

    When we visited the Beanstalk offices earlier in the year, we discovered this treasure trove of kid's books and games. But, it must have been incredibly difficult to find a book at all!
    Getting the right book builds rapport with a child who is struggling with their reading.  Beanstalk's reading volunteers go into schools to read one to one with children, and help them  build their love of books.    So finding the right book to engage with every child is very important.

    Beanstalk’s reading helpers meet a child once a week, away from the classroom to read or play a game.  For many children this is often the only time during the week when they are given options, asked their opinions, and able to enjoy quality one-to-one time with a consistent adult role model.  Beanstalk's aim is to reach 18,000 children by 2018.

    So, we were delighted to help the Beanstalk team create this library to help their reading volunteers.

    beanstalk, tidy books, charity, reading, books, children, kids Beanstalk's new book corner created with Tidy Books

    The Beanstalk team told us
    "The units have helped transform our book corner into an attractive, practical space. Being able to see the front-facing books easily draws people in to look at them and brightens the whole area by throwing out more images and colours.

    We're proud to have been in partnership with Beanstalk since 2014.  With every product that we sell online, we donate a portion of that sale to help Beanstalk ensure that every child becomes a reader.

    From Beanstalk and from us at Tidy Books: 'Thank you!'

  • The books you choose give a child a message

    "If you're reading this blog to be told what books to choose for your child, I'm sorry, I can't do that. "  - Rachel.    

    Rachel writes from literacy charity Beanstalk and is our guest blogger.

    Tidy Books supports Beanstalk, the national literacy charity which places volunteers in schools to read one to one with children who've fallen behind with their reading.  Our recent competition was designed to help Beanstalk create a reading corner and help volunteers encourage a reluctant child to fall in love with books. Rachel tells us how the reading volunteers work their magic...

    Only someone who knows your child can do that. That's why our volunteers begin by getting to know their children using games, discussions and, yes, books. Books like 'Charlie Cook's Favourite Book' by Julia Donaldson, 'You Choose' by Pipps Goodhart and 'ABC UK' by James Dunn. Once you've begun to know the child, you can begin to choose their book.

    One of our volunteers was allocated to a child who was one of twin sisters. "She can read well but she lives in her sister's shadow" the teacher told him. He chose 'Double Act', a Jacqueline Wilson novel in which a shy twin finds her voice. It wasn't necessary for the volunteer to spell out the similarities between the fictional Garnet and the girl reading about her. He simply introduced the right book and watched it work its magic.

    beanstalk, reading, reading aloud, tidy books, books A Beanstalk volunteer is reading one to one with a child

    In Allan Bennet's 'The History Boys', a teacher tells his pupil "The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours." This empathy drives adults to read, and by choosing a book with which a child can empathise, you enable a child to experience that too.

    The books you choose give the child a message about you

    Lots of the children our volunteers see can't tell us what sort of books they like. They don't have the vocabulary to categorise genres and can't call to mind any hobbies or interests, so asking multiple choice questions leads to disjointed conclusions like "So you'd like a book about Chelsea FC, Romans and magic?!" But don't give up. Imagine the message you give to the child when you return with 'Frankie versus the Rowdy Romans' by Frank Lampard! You've listened to the child. You've puzzled over their words, sought recommendations from wizened book people and been on a quest to your local bookshop or library or Beanstalk reading corner and returned with something precious: a book just for that child. Now they have incontrovertible proof that they matter to you.

    There is a Beanstalk legend about a particularly well-to-do volunteer - the sort of lady who reads 'The Lady' - you know the sort I mean. She was allocated a boy who was interested in one thing: wrestling. The next day when she popped into the corner shop she gave the friendly news agent the shock of his career by calmly requesting her copy of 'The Lady' and a WWF magazine: ("no sir, not World Wildlife Fund, World Wrestling Federation!") You can imagine the effect it had on the chid. He spent half an hour twice a week teaching his volunteer all about wrestling, barely noticing how his reading became more fluent week by week. By going out of your way to choose a book which is personal to the child, you send them a message that they matter.

    beanstalk, reading, reading aloud, tidy books, books Beanstalk supports children who've fallen behind with their reading

    The books you choose give the child a message about your relationship

    Much of what children do in schools is compulsory, and rightly so; it prevents gaps in their learning and develops their work ethic. But in order to instil a love of reading for pleasure we offer something tangibly different to work. That's why many Beanstalk volunteers begin their session by spreading out anything from three to twenty books across the table. "What do you want to read today?" they ask.

    In their first session together, one volunteer used a multiple choice personality quiz to get to know her child. 'Are you a Horrid Henry or a Perfect Peter?' asked the title. The child smiled when he read the answers about pulling pranks, but consistently chose the options which revealed him to be a compliant 'Perfect Peter' type. For the next several months of reading together, the child was allowed to choose the books and games himself. Even when he stumbled over a word the volunteer told him what a great effort he'd made and helped him work it out correctly. One day he chose the Horrid Henry book and turned back to the quiz. This time his answers were different. Knowing now that there was no risk of judgement or criticism from his volunteer, he expressed a mischievous sense of humour more like Henry's than Peter's! By offering a choice of appropriate books, the volunteer had given the child the message that, regardless of is choices, she would accept him unconditionally.

    Beanstalk volunteers see children who have never experienced the empathy of reading, never had someone take the time to choose a book just for them or never been given the unconditional freedom to choose a book themselves. The right book is important because of the messages it gives, whether a child is receiving those messages for the first or the millionth time. And that will be much easier when books on offer are displayed in a logical, original and stylish way.

     Rachel provides support and advice to Beanstalk reading volunteers, who in turn deliver tailored, ‘one-to-one’ sessions to hundreds of children in primary schools across London.   

    Thank you to everyone who entered our recent competition with Beanstalk to win a Tidy Books Bookcase and help Beanstalk create a reading corner for their reading volunteers.  We couldn't have done it without you!

  • WIN a designer kid's bookcase and help reading charity Beanstalk

    Beanstalk came to us with a book storage challenge: how could we help their reading volunteers find the just right book to encourage a reluctant child to read? We knew it was perfect opportunity to design a practical book storage solution for their tiny office with the help of you, our Tidy Books followers. That’s why we’re offering you the chance to win a Tidy Books’ designer kid's bookcase and help Beanstalk at the same time.

    bookcase, Tidy Books, charity, Beanstalk, win Win one of our Tidy Books Bookcases

    Beanstalk is a national reading charity who train, vet and place volunteers in schools to read one to one with children who have fallen behind with their reading. We’ve been in partnership with Beanstalk since 2014, and with every product we sell online, we donate a portion of that sale to help Beanstalk ensure that every child becomes a reader.

    reading, Tidy Books, charity, Beanstalk, win Beanstalk volunteer and her student in action

    The Beanstalk team wanted to create a reading corner in their offices for the reading volunteers. The reading volunteers come to browse the large collection of books, when they’re looking for the ideal book to interest a child who’s finding books daunting.  

    Getting the right book builds a rapport with the child. That’s why it's so important to make Beanstalk’s book collection easy to browse. We know that our followers and customers value the opportunities to help others, and that they love a competition! More details on how to enter the competition at the end of the post.

    When we visited the Beanstalk office, we realised the scale of the challenge they’d set us! Books are stacked to the ceiling, there are books on the floor, and shelves of games stacked precariously behind the door. Space has to be maximised in their small office. 

    bookcase, Tidy Books, charity, Beanstalk, win We want to upgrade Beanstalks library with your help

    Beanstalk’s  reading helpers meet with a child once a week, away from the classroom to read, play a game and build rapport. For many children this is often the only time during the week when they are given options, asked their opinions, and able to enjoy quality one-to-one time with a consistent adult role model.

    Beanstalk aims to reach 18,000 children by 2018 and the volunteers are crucial to opening the door of reading to children.  

    “It's all about the quality of the volunteers ... they sprinkle our children with their magical reading fairy dust and open up the wonderful world of books to them.” (Beanstalk Schools’ Survey, Christmas 2015)

    To help the volunteers connect their children with reading, the Beanstalk team have big ambitious: in a very small space, they want to add a couple of comfy chairs; all the better to browse books in, and to have a space to display themed books e.g. bereavement or holidays or non fiction to help volunteers find just the right book for a particular child.

    We created a storage design wishlist for Beanstalk’s office space to create a welcoming library for the reading volunteers.  We included:

    1. A Tidy Books Designer Kid's Bookcase to display themed picture book, which are often hard to store and see.  
    2. A Tidy Books Box to be used next to a coffee table for returning books to.
    3. Two Tidy Books Sorting Boxes to store Beanstalk’s range of educational games that reading helpers play with children to build rapport.  

    Sounds good? This is where you come in.   

    bookcase, Tidy Books, charity, Beanstalk, win Win one of our Tidy Books Bookcases

    Help Beanstalk create a new reading corner when you enter our exciting competition to win a new Tidy Books designer kid's bookcase. Created with the help of an interior designer, the new colour range is designed to fit perfectly with modern decor. 

    For every 100 competition entries, we'll donate a Tidy Books kid's bookcase or storage product to kit it out.

    You can win one of Tidy Books designer kid's bookcases, created by an interior designer, when you enter the competition on our Facebook page.

    Hop on to Tidy Books Facebook page. Follow the 3 simple steps to win yourself a super Tidy Books designer bookcase!

    Remember, the more people who enter, the more we can donate to Beanstalk!
    Will you help Beanstalk volunteers find just the right book for every child they read with?

    Competition to win your own designer kid's bookcase ends 11th June 2017, midnight.

    ENTER NOW

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