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  • Will you still be reading aloud to your teenager?

    I loved reading aloud to my children when they were growing up. To curl up with a book and watch their inquisitive faces as I shared a story with them was such a joy. I’m sure you have that same warm, contented feeling when you read to your kids, too.

    I have to say that when my kids got older and started reading on their own it was both a proud and sad time. It was wonderful seeing them progress onto chapter books, relying less on me for reading duties and happily losing themselves in a book on their own. But once they had become independent readers, I knew my time as Chief Storyteller was over. Or so I thought.

    reading aloud, kids reading, tidy books, kids bookcases Reading aloud together. Photo credit @_francescasantini_  Three Little Pigs blog

    The other day I met a mum who is still reading aloud to her 13-year-old. How brilliant is that? She and her son share an interest in history and when he started reading a history book that had been recommended by his teacher he suggested his mum read it as well. So she said ‘Well maybe we could read it together.’

    You’d think that hanging out with his mum reading would be the last thing a young teen would want to do but her son thought it was a great idea. So in the evening, before his bedtime, they sit on the sofa taking it in turns to read the book out loud to one another. And they both love it.

    A few years ago, research by the children’s publisher, Scholastic, found that three-quarters of parents were reading aloud to their kids when they were aged 5 or under, but that number tailed off as kids grew older. Only 20% of the parents surveyed read to their 9-11 year olds. What’s really sad is that around one-third of those older children said they’d wanted their parents to continue reading to them.

    When your child starts growing up you assume there are some ‘uncool’ things they won’t want to do anymore. But the reality can be so different. The mum I met likens reading a book with her son to watching a TV documentary together. They can discuss the subject, ask each other questions and enjoy the experience of learning together. She really loves that they can share their curiosity about the world through their love of reading.

    She says that reading aloud together is a natural activity for the two of them and that it’s lovely spending quality time with her son – which, let’s face it, isn’t always easy to achieve with a teen! Of course not every teenager wants to read with their parents – but it might just be that yours does. You never know until you ask... so I’m going to wrestle the Xbox away from my 14-year-old and find out...

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

     

    Geraldine 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.

  • Win a prize book bundle with Child's Play International

    Join in our Christmas Advent competition to build your own kid's book bundle, with our friends at Child's Play (International) Ltd You choose the books to go into your prize book bundle.

    Enter the competition here on the Tidy Books Facebook Page

    childs play, childrens books, book, kids books, prize A Bear Hug at Bedtime

    Full terms and conditions for Tidy Books competition with Child's Play International

    This giveaway is not associated in any way with Facebook or Instagram.
    Prize is 8 books from Child's Play International
    Winners will be contacted by direct message on Facebook
    Entries will only be deemed valid if a valid Facebook profile is used.
    The winners will be selected at random from all valid entries received by the deadline stated on the competition.
    The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
    The winner’s names will be published on the Tidy Books Facebook page
    Data collected will only be shared between Tidy Books and the competition partner. This information will not be shared with any third party.
    Open to to UK residents over 18.The competition will close at midnight on Fri 22nd December at 5pm
    The winner will be announced on Wednesday 3rd January, and delivery of the prize will take place thereafter.
    If the winner cannot be contacted within 48 hours of the closing date, the team reserve the right to re-draw for a winner.
    Delivery to mainland UK only.
    Entry is free and no purchase is necessary.

  • Why writing a diary is great for kids

    Wondering what to put in the kids’ Christmas stocking this year? Well the National Literacy Trust is encouraging everyone to buy a diary or a journal as a gift. They believe writing a journal is a great way for children to explore language, express themselves and build emotional resilience.

    With daily writing, children can practise their handwriting outside of school. And according to one report, schoolchildren who kept a journal were nearly twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age as those who didn’t.

    The beauty of a diary is that kids can write about whatever they like. It might be what they’ve done that day, how they’re feeling or their hopes and fears. This, say the NLT, gives children the chance to build emotional resilience because writing things down lets them process their thoughts and express their feelings.

    Writing thoughts down is pretty handy for adults too. I have a personal notebook that I write in every evening. It’s somewhere for me to unload or reflect on what I’m immensely grateful for.

    " Diary writing is a brilliant idea for children, because it helps them organise their thoughts and express themselves. 

    Sue Townsend, author of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

    When it comes to your kids, they may need a bit of encouraging – otherwise it might feel like another task they have to do rather than something they can enjoy.   A handy tip is to read your children a book where the main character writes a journal – like Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Younger kids could be encouraged to start by using pictures instead of words, or writing with colourful pens and pencils.

    bunk bed buddy, diary, tidy books, bunk bed storage, book shelf, journal Perfect place for a diary: the Tidy Books Bunk Bed Buddy. Photo credit: Would Like to be a Yummy Mummy  www.wouldliketobeayummymummy.com

    Of course a diary is personal so it’s always handy to have a secret place to keep it away from prying eyes. I love the idea of a child scribbling away in their diary then hiding it behind their favourite things on their Bunk Bed Buddy . It's safe in their own little territory – and it’s close at hand whenever they want to write in it.

    And who knows – one day that diary might become a best-selling book!

     

  • The A-Z of alphabet learning

    Do you remember learning the alphabet? I do. At school we got to know the letters by singing them to our teacher. It was such a fun way to learn and really helped me to become familiar with all the different letters of the alphabet.

    When it came to my daughter’s turn to learn the alphabet, she had a bit of extra help thanks to my Tidy Books bookcase.

    I designed the front-facing bookcase to make it easier for Adele – and other kids – to find the books they wanted. It also struck me that having colourful A to Z letters on the bookcase would help kids to learn their letters at the same time, so I added those as an option if customers wanted them.

    kids bookcase, kids book storage, front facing book display, alphabet bookcase, learning the alphabet Every opportunity to explore the alphabet: credit: Maman Floutch

    As a mum, it was lovely to watch Adele with her alphabet bookcase. She was able to build up her vocabulary gradually and casually by pointing to the bright wooden 3D letters and saying them out loud.

    When I designed the bookcase in 2004 it was an instant hit with Adele – and today it’s one of our best sellers. I did make one adjustment along the way, though. To begin with, the letters were in capitals but then I got chatting to a schoolteacher who told me that kids start by learning lower case letters. If you think about, with books that’s the letters kids see most and are the ones they become familiar with – so of course it made perfect sense for me to change the bookcase letters to lowercase.  

    Learning the alphabet is so important for the development of children’s reading and literacy. Once they’ve mastered the different letters and their sounds then they have the building blocks of language – and the wonderful world of books awaits them!

    I like the idea of making learning fun, so my bookcase can also be personalised. It’s a great way to get kids into the alphabet when they can learn how to recognise the letters of their name. And it ties in beautifully with my ethos of growing children’s independence and giving them their own domain in which to learn. I mean, what could be better than your own personal mini-library with your name on it?

    How do you help your kids learn the alphabet?

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