We discovered The Little Reading Club through Instagram and were delighted when Catherine agreed to talk to us about why she set it up and what she hopes it will achieve. Enjoying books and reading is such an important part of a child's development, so we are huge fans of all initiatives which aim to inspire children to read and have more fun with books. We want to do whatever we can to support businesses like The Little Reading Club in the hope that they will inspire parents, carers and children to read.
We particuarly love the fact that The Little Reading Club encourage people to recycle their books by passing them onto your friends, donating them to your local library, school or charity shop. This is very much what our Book Swaps section is all about too; whether it be a Book Swap Play Date, a Book Swap Party or a Book Swap Event.
For those who haven’t heard of The Little Reading Club, how would you describe it to them?
The Little Reading Club is a little bit of magic in the post! It’s a children’s book subscription service and we cover children from birth to 12 year olds. We have tiny, young and older readers and every month they receive a bundle of age appropriate books, beautifully and personally wrapped and delivered to their doorstep for them to enjoy.
Why did you decide to set up The Little Reading Club?
I’ve always read to my boys and it’s always been an important and really precious, quiet time for us. As everybody's days have become busier in general, we don’t always have time to go to the local book shop and spend an hour or so flicking through books. It’s also becoming harder to find great books as there are so many to choose from.
I thought how great it would be if someone could do the hard work for me and then I thought, ‘I could do that’. To then have them delivered to my house would be a bonus and I thought ‘I could do that too!’ So that’s how The Little Reading Club came about.
What are your hopes and dreams for The Little Reading Club?
I’d love for The Little Reading Club to become a real reading tribe of children up and down the country and across the world. To be part of increasing a love of books for a generation of children makes me excited.
Why do you think it is important for children to enjoy reading?
We all know the links between children reading often and doing better at school and if we’re honest that’s probably the first reason why we encourage our children to read. We want our children to have great vocabulary, really good writing skills and have a fountain of knowledge of the world and different cultures and all of this comes from reading books.
But for me it’s more than that, it’s about the art of escapism. It’s about being able to escape from whatever is happening around you and transport yourself to a totally different world for 10, 20, 30 minutes where there’s no pressures and it’s just pure relaxation.
What tips do you have for parents who want to help their children develop a love of reading?
The biggest tip I have is try and be a good role model by reading yourself. You could be reading anything the newspaper, a novel, a cookery book, it doesn’t matter what it is but if they see you reading they’ll want to follow suit. Also, read aloud with your children often. A lot of people think that reading aloud stops with picture books but that’s not the case.
There are so many great chapter books that you can enjoy together, The BFG, Harry Potter, The Christmasaurus. You’ll also be surprised that your chapter book loving child also likes to sit down with you and enjoy the reading time together.
Lots of children have their favourite books which they would love to read every day, how can we encourage them to read new books?
I have one of those at home. For months he would read Diary of a Wimpy Kid over and over again, he wouldn’t look at another book and often dismissed them before even reading a page. For me, I became obsessed with the fact that all he wanted to read was a comic like book with squiggly pictures in them and it wasn’t what I wanted him to read.
However, once I took a step back I thought, ok he’s reading a book, he enjoys it and he’s reading for pleasure not because he has to, I can’t ask for anything else really. Slowly I left Tom Gates books around (same genre) and he picked those up and then I progressed onto other titles and other genres. I guess it can be a slow process but honestly, if they are reading let them be.
Have you always loved stories and reading?
Yes! My mum was a teacher so we were always surrounded by books and had a huge collection ourselves. As I got older I enjoyed writing short stories in my little notebooks and now as an adult I love a good crime thriller book!
What is your favourite children’s book?
There’s so many to choose from so here’s my top 3 in no particular order:
1. Chilly Billy! This brings back childhood memories of afternoon story time at school. I loved the adventures that Chilly Billy got up to in your fridge and I was convinced that he lived in my fridge and would sneak to try and open the door before the light came on!
2. I love the BFG and being able to submerge myself into an adventure of giants, funny words and dream potions.
3. Grandad’s Island. This is my favourite picture book and I can read it over and over again. The sensitive story and the beautiful words used, together with the amazing illustrations makes it a must have book for every book shelf.
If you could do something else for the day, what would it be?
Mmm, I'd probably need more than a day but I love to travel so I'd probably pack a backpack (well a big suitcase) and travel the world. I'm fortunate to have been to quite a lot of counties already but there's still so many on my wish list. I'd also turn my travels into a picture book because that would just be a dream!
If you could spend a day with one of the PrenderPals who would it be and why?
I think I’d love to spend the day with Gabriel the Giraffe. We share the same birth month and I also love Dinosaurs Love Underpants, well I love all the alien and dino series! He also likes dancing as do I and we like to have fun, I think we’d have an awesome time.
We hope you've enjoyed reading this interview and thanks again to Catherine for finding the time to answer our questions.
If you'd like to find out more about The Little Reading Club please visit their lovely website.