I’m so excited – we’re going to be working with the BookTrust in the coming year as one of their Book Trust Bloggers!
So who are the Book Trust? Chances are you’ll have come across them at some point. For me, my first time was getting H’s first bag from our Health Visitor, which had an Elmer book in it, which was read constantly – we’d seen Elmer but didn’t have any of the books, and this led to more purchases. The idea of getting a bag with free books and activities was amazing to me – up until then, the only thing I’d come across which was free were the bags you get when you’re about to give birth.
Finding out that you could get more free books as my child grew up was INCREDIBLE. We knew she loved reading and being read to, and discovering new authors or ones we hadn’t yet read opened up a world of adventures, stories, great things. Needless to say, when anyone who had a child of a similar age said they had a new Book Trust bag, we all made a point of getting them. Once H was at school she got her Booktime pack in reception.
And that, I thought, was that. But no – you see, Book Trust have loads of different schemes, and on the 1st April we headed to their offices and met with them to learn about what they do.
I love the Letterbox Club – a service which provides books to children who are being looked after. Often it can be the first thing they receive which is theirs – and it’s for children aged 5-13. The packs are tailored and have books, maths games, stationery and it’s all designed to encourage reading and learning at home. There are five levels – Letterbox Orange (5-7 year olds), Letterbox Yellow (7-9 year olds), Letterbox Blue (7-9 year olds), Letterbox Red (9-11 year olds) and Letterbox Green (11-13 year olds). The books are carefully selected and have loads of fun things – each child will get the books for six months and have their own collection of things to use and keep. Children can be a member four times every other year – and having seen example packs I think this is an amazing scheme. For more information head here.
At Book Trust they believe in a society where nobody misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring. They want to get children and families reading – and I know we’re extremely lucky with H and how much she loves and enjoys reading.
The Letterbox Club isn’t the only service for older children. Book Trust also have a service for schools to sign up, as well as a new service launching later this year, Story Hunters – and while it says which children these packages are targeted towards, it’s open to everyone.
There’s a lot on the Book Trust website too – you can search for books based on ability and age – something which has always confused me with H as she’s such an advanced reader – what exactly would make a book suitable for an 8 year old, when she’s only 4? I’m going to be using this section a lot!
I love the Bookbuzz scheme too – a fantastic choice of books, and for students in years 7 & 8 at school!
At the networking event on April 1st, a lot of bloggers were also authors – and it was great to chat to them. I was curious what makes a book suitable for a certain age – as I obviously don’t want H reading anything too teenage right now, but do want her to push her reading skills where she feels she wants to (usually it’s the words and grammar used). We met the author Sita Brahmachari and received a copy of two of her books. See, this is the other fantastic thing about the Book Trust – they’re working with authors all the time, reviewing books and encouraging children to read. It’s wonderful – and, in case you didn’t realise, they’re a charity.
I knew this, but didn’t realise we could raise money for them – so we’re now thinking of a way to do something. Maybe have H see how many Harry Potter books she can read without sleeping or something! You can also buy Christmas Cards at Waterstones which help raise money, something we’ll be doing this year.
I came away from our meeting knowing that working with the Book Trust was a really positive thing – they’re really making a difference for many children. I have so much more I could write about, but I’ll save that for a follow-up post – and instead direct you over here, where you’ll find so many things.
We’re delighted to be Book Trust bloggers, and I’m planning to write something for their site soon!