I was completely shocked when I today read on twitter say that nearly 60% of families do not own a single baby book. I’ve seen statistics like this before about things like the average number of books in a UK household being just five, and previously I’ve never been able to get the facts to back up what I’ve read. This time though Beachy Books were able to point me in the direction of this article from The Bookseller.
According to the research that has been done, 57% of families do not own a single baby book until they receive their Bookstart early reading packs. These packs are given out in the baby’s first year via Health Visitors, often at the baby’s one year check. That means these children are not having books shared with them for the first year of their life. I’m just completely in shock still about this.
We started reading to Little Miss C so early – I can’t exactly remember when – and she has always loved books. As soon as she could sit up she would happily sit infront of a box of books and go through them. She’s always loved listening to the rhythm of books being read outloud to her and still likes nothing more than snuggling up with mummy or daddy to share a book with them. When she was going through her frustrated phase where she wanted to do so much more than she physically could we always used to be able to calm her down by curling up together and working our way through a pile of books. I can’t imagine depriving a child of this sort of pleasure.
If there’s one thing that these statistics do show it’s that the role of Bookstart is such a valuable one. I dare not think how many children might not get any exposure to books at all if the charity behind Bookstart did not do the valuable work that it does in providing the Bookstart packs and also the support for adults to share books with their children.
In 2012 Booktrust (the charity behind Bookstart) is celebrating 20 years of Bookstart and they are asking people to make a simple pledge to support Bookstart by pledging to share 20 books in 2012. There are many ways in which you can share books – reading aloud, either to your own children or at a nursery or library, recommending books or taking part in book swaps, joining a reading group or posting book reviews online. It’s very easy to make your pledge on their website and in doing so you will be helping to support Bookstart and also encourage more parents to share books with their children.
I have pledged to support Bookstart and to share 20 books in 2012. I plan to do so by reviewing (at least) 20 children’s books here on my blog. Not just books that I am sent by publishers, but books that Little Miss C and I enjoy together – whether they be old classics, new books we have been sent or ones that we have found in the local library.
Why not make your pledge to share 20 books in 2012 and help to change the shocking statistic I started with.
Disclaimer: I have received no payment or other reimbursement for this post.