What can a bookworm bring to your home?  A friendly bookworm will add peace and tranquillity and if you train him or her right, may even help with tidying and cleaning.  Don’t believe me?  Read on.

First you’ll need to know how to grow a bookworm.  You can start very, very early by reading to your child in the womb.  If you’ve missed that opportunity, it is not too late, just make sure you have plenty of books available.  For babies, have cloth books and board books, waterproof books and books which you can attach to your pram.  At this age, the books don’t contain stories, but just getting your child used to having books about is the first step.  There are many books aimed at babies, choose those with simplistic illustrations to catch their eye, take a look at The Little Black & White Project.  When you have a toddler, books get much more exciting.  My books are suitable for children age 3 – 7, and you can buy them here.  Store your toddlers books on a low bookshelf or table so they are easily reachable.  For quiet time together, grab a book, a cuddly and snuggle up for a story.  Bedtime is a lovely opportunity for some story time together.  I continued to read bedtime stories with my son until he was 11 years old.

Never discourage your child when they want to read (although the middle of the night has to be a no!).  One of the saddest conversations I’ve witnessed was one day last summer when I was in my local library with my children who were selecting six books each for the Library Summer Reading Challenge.  A young girl came in with an older lady, presumably her Nan.  The little girl was very interested in the Reading Challenge and excitedly asked her Nan if she could sign up.  Nan said flatly, “You won’t read six books” and that was that.  I so wanted to intervene with “She won’t if she doesn’t try”, but I kept quiet.  Do the opposite, encourage reading.  Here are a few ideas:

  • join your library, visit it regularly and borrow lots of books
  • read to your children whenever you can and especially when they come to you with a book
  • let them see you reading for pleasure
  • have books at home
  • talk about stories with your children, what happens and when they’re old enough the hidden messages and sub-texts
  • use stories in your play, for example, make playdough characters to re-enact stories.  My daughter’s favourite was Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Reading is an essential skill in life, but that doesn’t mean it should be approached in a boring way.  Above all, reading is fun!

Oh, and the tidying … this is the cunning part, pop other objects on to the bookshelves, then ask your bookworm to get a book, they’ll have to move the objects and will hopefully put them away in the process.  Cleaning won’t be a problem either, regularly read books don’t gather dust!  Please let me know if this works.

Until the next time, best wishes, Josie x