I am so excited to announce the first ever Bookchat Roadshow! It’s been a long time in the planning and came about as part of my desire to help and encourage parents in supporting their children with reading. Parenting is hard work, endlessly rewarding of course, but so often we don’t have time to do all things we’d like to for our children, especially when it comes to reading.
The idea for Bookchat as one to one support, was born out of a real need to help children with their book choices as well as encourage parents, pointing them in the direction of the fantastic books and resources available. Working in schools, I found that many children just weren’t very good or very confident at choosing books . The Roadshow is an extension of one to one Bookchat and ultimately aims to reach a wide audience of parents giving them hints, tips, ideas and encouragement! And above all, some inspiration!
Throughout my career, I have often noted that those children whose parents are more involved and engaged with their child’s reading are more likely to develop a reading habit. I have seen the struggles many children have to enjoy reading, whether this be due to a lack of knowledge of books, a lack of desire to read, a lack of support or a particular learning need. I believe engaging with and supporting parents can have a huge impact on children’s ability to enjoy reading.
The National Literacy Trust produced a summary ‘Why Families Matter to Literacy’ which analysed a raft of research on parental involvement in learning and literacy. This demonstrated that parents who are more involved with their children’s literacy activities, including reading and writing, will not only benefit their child’s development, but their own development as a parent (Clark, 2007). The National Literacy Trust’s report Family Matters: The Importance of Family Support for Young People’s Reading found that “encouraging children to read and being seen reading can contribute positively to young people’s reading attitudes and behaviour. Young people encouraged by a family member are twice as likely to read outside of class every day as those who are not.” (Clark and Picton, 2012)
At a time when literacy levels are of huge concern, some children are leaving school without being able to read and write properly, and mental health issues are rife in many schools, reading for pleasure has been shown to have a positive impact on all these areas. The Reading Agency Literature Review: The impact of reading for pleasure and empowerment researched the effects of reading for pleasure on people of a range of ages. Among its conclusions, the Review found that reading for pleasure “improved social capital for children, young people and the general adult population; better parent-child communication and reduction of depression and dementia symptoms among adults.” But the key to all this is reading for pleasure in order for the outcomes to be reached (2015 June).
Inviting parents into school, to hear from experienced people who, as parents too, know the concerns and worries they may have, is a step towards engaging with parents and carers in a new and positive way about reading and writing for pleasure. With a panel of fantastic authors who can share their very real experiences as readers and writers, incorporating stories through illustration and drama too, will further emphasise the importance of supporting children’s creativity.
I am hugely grateful to all those who are participating in this event and all those ‘behind-the-scenes’ who have helped along the way. Thank you! Roadshow number two is already being planned, so spread the word and watch this space…The Bookchat Roadshow is coming to town!
The Bookchat Roadshow takes place on Thursday 13th October at Warden Park Primary Academy, Haywards Heath. For more information and to reserve your seats, visit www.thebookactivist.com or www.eventbrite.co.uk.
With thanks to the wonderful participants and supporters of the Bookchat Roadshow: