In her latest post, Rosemary celebrates the wonderful feedback we have received from families who have enjoyed Booktrust's bookgifting programmes.
We have two more weeks to wait until we hear news on funding for the national bookgifting programmes. So, in the meantime, I thought it would be good to hear the opinions of parents and children.
The parents and children who take the time to email us tend to be those who are confident and articulate and it is heartening to hear how much they value Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up.
The programmes have wide-ranging benefits; making an impact even in homes where reading is already recognised as important.
Bookstart: Feedback from parents
'Although he can’t read yet we’re going to use the Bookstart books to start him off with bedtime stories. He loves hearing stories and absolutely loves visiting the library and being around books. He feels right at home and he loves being there.'
'I didn’t want to be a 'pushy parent' so when I had my son I didn’t sit down and share books with him as I was worried I might be doing wrong by starting too soon. The Bookstart baby pack was wonderful as it gave me 'permission' to share books and stories with him every day – I read the guidance and found that it was good to read with my son and I discovered ideas and suggestions on how I could have fun and help him develop. Thank you Bookstart.'
'My three year old has just received his Treasure Chest, which was given to us by his pre-school. I just had to let you know how delighted we are with it. What a treat. Every pack we have had has been superb. What a wonderful initiative. Joseph does get books at Christmas and birthdays but these are a special bonus. He especially loved 'You Choose'. What a clever and engaging book. We 'read' it four times yesterday and then our son took it to bed with him. When I checked on him, he was still clutching it in his sleep. Thank you so much. Bookstart is a fabulous scheme.'
M Drydale, July 2009
'Just a quick email to say thank you. Sandy Chapman sent a Bookstart Treasure Chest to Bedworth Library for us to pick up and we collected it yesterday. My daughter loves it. She's colouring Bookstart Bears with her sister right now and had each of the books read to her three times before going to sleep last night. Thank you again.'
Nikki McKee, July 2009
‘It was great to see my son’s face light up when he received the Bookstart Treasure Chest. Although I read to Calum every night, the 'Ideas' book really helped me to see how much more I could do to help my child develop. I got so much pleasure out of seeing my son happy with his new books. Seeing him excited also encourages me to encourage him. I would like to thank Bookstart for making parents see what is right in front of them each and every day, the many ways you can help your child develop.’
'I'm writing to express my gratitude for the books my daughter's received from Bookstart over the past two years. My daughter turned two last week and already has a real passion for books. She insists on choosing her own bedtime story and has started to tell her favourite stories to her (as yet unborn) sister or brother in my tummy! I think Bookstart's a wonderful initiative to encourage families to read and enjoy books together and do hope that the coalition government recognise it's importance and continue to fund your fantastic organisation. Many thanks again for all the brilliant stories and hours of fun reading.'
Katie Golding (Daughter Belle)
'Just wanted to say a big thank you. My daughter received her Treasure Chest yesterday from nursery. She loved the books and colouring pencils and immediately wanted to draw a picture. We then read the books at bedtime. Thank you and I hope you are able to continue to give books to all children; it is so important to encourage children to read and parents to read to them. You are doing great work.'
Elizabeth Flanagan, October 2009
'I just wanted to say thank you for the Bookstart pack that my daughter came home with from her children's centre last night. We read both of the books while she was in the bath, when she came out of the bath, before bedtime and, again, first thing this morning. She thought the Penguin book was very funny. I hope that you get lots of emails acknowledging what you do and thanking you. I certainly really appreciate it.'
Deborah Dickey, March 2010
'I want to say how wonderful 'Bookstart' is, I have always been brought up with books and I am glad I can pass my love of books on to my children. I think it is very important to give all children an opportunity to get involved with reading. Thank you and well done.'
Jenny Lewis, April 2010
Booktime: Feedback from Parents
‘I didn’t realise the importance of books at first. I have three young children and a hectic life. I find it really rewarding to sit and read with my children both individually and all together, spending quality time with them. Booktime helped open my eyes to a new range of books, as before this I used to just stick to basic books, not stories. Excellent idea, it has made a difference to us.’
‘I just wanted to say thank you for this brilliant scheme. My four year old daughter, who has just started Reception, has just received her set of fantastic books. This is a truly wonderful way to inspire children to love books and learn to read, and is much appreciated by this parent and I'm sure many, many others. The packs are imaginatively and thoughtfully designed and it is so lovely to get new books by the best children's authors. I hope you continue to receive funding for this excellent scheme. Long may it continue!’
'Great opportunity for parents to spend time with children in the school environment and to observe how much they enjoy having a story read to them. A great programme!’
‘Very impressed with the quality; parents and children are thrilled to receive this gift, especially in an area that does not usually benefit from grants or educational bursaries due to our 'affluent area', even though many young parents are struggling with mortgages and taxes. It is very much appreciated that 'Booktime' has not discriminated against us.’
‘I think this is a very good scheme that encourages people who might not otherwise read with their children, and also gives people who find buying books expensive the opportunity to share stories with their children.’
‘My daughter was very excited about receiving her books and book bag and extremely keen that we sit down and read them together. This enthusiasm also got her little brother interested in the poems as well and choosing his own book for bedtime. It is a lovely gesture and I’m sure e will encourage many more children to take an interest in books. We are off to the library this weekend. Thank you’
‘I think the Booktime programme is an excellent idea. It reminds us all how important it is for all of us as a family to read together more.’
Booked Up: Feedback from children
'I really enjoyed reading An Urgent Message of Wowness and I thoroughly enjoyed Underworld as one of my friends lent it me. Thank you so much for setting this event up and I congratulate you on your success with the idea as all of my friends and I very much enjoyed it.'
'I am just writing to express my sincere thanks to your most kind offer of a free book… I have chosen Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney – I think it would be a great story to have a laugh about. I think it would be a change from the other books I read because they are mainly action… Booked Up is a great chance for children to develop their reading in many ways. It gives a variety of books from comedy to adventure, from fiction to non-fiction. I barely read but I am hoping after I find the right book for me, I will read more.'
'Hiya I just want to say a big thank you for the free book you sent out to all the Year 7s & including me I received the Urgent Message of Wowness book and I enjoy it a lot. I actually can't wait to get to the end to see what happens thank you again very much.'
'I am writing to thank you, on giving us the chance to have a free book. This is a great opportunity for everyone. I am 11 years old and have chosen Flood Child because the reviews were good, I also chose a new author for a change. Booked Up is a brilliant idea for children to have a free choice of that encourages us (children) to read, but also a wider range of books for all abilities. I will hopefully enjoy reading the books!!'
'Year 7 had an assembly and all of us were really excited and couldn't wait to get our Booked Up books. We all had a great time getting them. If we could we would do it again and again!'
Booked Up: Feedback from parents
'I just wanted to say a big thank you for the book my child received from yourselves through his school at Cardinal Heenan in Leeds. I have struggled for the last couple of years trying to get Jonathan interested in books but you finally made that happen when he was given Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He so enjoyed this, that he has already read two other books by the same author in the last week.'
'I just wanted to say 'thank you' for the book you gave to my daughter at school today. She chose An Urgent Message of Wowness which she can’t wait to read!!'
'My son brought home Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief from school today. He is delighted with it and is already a third of the way through it!'
'I just wanted to say thank you for my daughter’s free book, under the Booked Up scheme. She is delighted with the one that she chose, and is thoroughly enjoying it. No doubt it will be passed to my other daughter once she has finished, and hopefully she will like it too.'
'My Year 7 son came home with the Booked Up catalogue, full of excitement about choosing a new book. I reviewed the titles and considered them easy for a prolific reader, but he was unswayed. He spent a couple of days re-reading the book descriptions and asking my advice and opinion. I knew all of the plot summaries by the time he selected Flood Child…The magic that was unleashed by Booked Up was the inclusion of his peers in his reading interest. When everyone is choosing a book and possibly reading the same book, it became very exciting for him. I will encourage him to swap his book for others to help him keep the book conversation going with his friends.'
'Thank you very much for the book that you gave my son today. He is at the Beaconsfield School and is absolutely delighted. He loves to read and is very excited by his book. What a kind trust.'
'My son attends St. Mary’s Catholic High School and received a free reading book courtesy of yourselves, last week. I just wanted to say a big thank you. As Dominic’s parents, and avid readers ourselves, we have tried to hook him in to reading for pleasure without success. He read his chosen book in three sittings which is pretty impressive for a twelve year old who has so far shown no interest in taking up reading as a pleasure for life. We plan to get him the other books which are part of the series for Christmas which he has actually asked for. Many, many thanks.'