I start with a question. How do we keep children a little more interested in books and a little less interested in screen time? For many of us, the battle is real and it is no surprise that parents are exhausted at the end of each day. Especially at the time when the children want a story or reading time. But, even at our most tired, professionals tell us that reading is an important part of a child’s development, so on that basis, we always try and read a few pages together every night.
I was recently reading an article in The Guardian newspaper which was the results of an annual Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer survey from Nielsen Book Research. In this survey, they interviewed 1,596 parents of 0 to 13-year-olds, and 14 to 17-year-olds in the UK last autumn. It found that while 69% of preschool children were read to daily in 2013, that figure had more recently dropped to just 51%. The proportion of toddlers being read to every day has dropped by a fifth over the last five years, which is a concern.
Just at that moment, when I felt Minecraft was taking over our lives, I was contacted by Liz of Reading Chest. This is what you would describe as perfect timing. Liz told me the story of why she started Reading Chest. As a teacher and a mother, she was struggling to find books for her son which were suitable and the right level for him.
Although the children are given books to borrow from school, some children would often forget to change their books for a new one or get a suitable book from the library. This meant that buying books from the local bookshop ended up being a bit ‘hit and miss’. I would often be drawn to books which I thought would be good for him or looked fun, rather than taking more care (guilty), to check if this was for their correct reading level. (Reading Chest has a range of carefully levelled books, perfect for children from reading ages of 4 to 9).
With that in mind, Liz wanted to find a better way to help parents become more involved in their child’s reading development. So, the idea of Reading Chest was founded - to provide easy affordable access to a wide range of new and exciting children’s reading books. They stock the same reading schemes used in UK schools, such as Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree, Treetops, Bug Club and Project X to name a few.
It has taken us a long time to get our children to enjoy reading and I know I am not alone when I say that. Therefore, in my opinion, Reading Chest is a smart idea. The concept is ideal for reluctant readers. Those who might need inspiring books and other incentives, such as stickers and certificates, to keep them going when they sometimes just want to give up. Obviously, it is also great for home school educators who don’t have access to any school reading book lending service. To be honest, in my opinion, I think this is great for every child.
We have just signed up for a six-month subscription and the first package just arrived to our home. Both children where so excited to receive new books! Each child received a drawstring ‘Reading Chest’ branded bag full of 3 or 4 reading books. We have taken these books on holiday to read and then on our return, we will send the books back and wait for some more to arrive in the post. I can honestly say, I am so pleased (and relieved) that we now have books we can read and give back, instead of disused book after book cluttering up the house that never get read again.
With Reading Chest, you can choose to receive just fiction or non-fiction, or particular reading schemes. If there are any individual titles that you don’t want to receive, you can add these to your ‘book bin.’
If you would like to take it a step further, you can also create a ‘favourites list.’ Reading Chest will do their best to send you books from your favourites list first. It can include books from your chosen book band or from other bands. So, if for example you are on red book band, but would like to find books about Romans for a school topic, you can add these to your ‘favourites’ list.
I hope you enjoyed this article. This blog is brought to you in collaboration with Reading Chest but all thoughts and opinions are my honest and my own.
To join Reading Chest and start receiving regular deliveries of the latest and most exciting children's reading scheme books. Click here to join today.