Making time to read with our girls and BookTrust

Since both of my girls were babies, I have made time to read every day with them. As a result, they both love books. I often find them curled up with Gary on the sofa or in the reading corner in Lottie’s room, engrossed in a story. I also regularly find Frankie sitting quietly on her own, looking through books. They both have favourite books, but also love discovering new stories.

Mother sitting with two preschoolers reading - time to read

I think Gary thought I was a bit mad when I first starting reading to Lottie as a baby. But he quickly realised how much she enjoys it. And I think he now reads with the girls even more than I do. There are so many benefits to reading together as a family. And that’s why we are delighted to be involved with this year’s Time to Read campaign with BookTrust.

toddler sitting on dad's lap, time to read a book

As well as the proven advantages, I love the closeness of reading together, Frankie always climbs onto my lap to read, and Lottie snuggles in close, and it’s lovely to have that quiet time together. I also think it really helps the girls to concentrate on something for a bit longer, helping their focus and attention. And really importantly for Lottie especially, it expands their vocabulary as it opens up new subjects to talk about. The very first Makaton sign that Lottie learnt was book. One of my proudest moments.

three year old sitting on the floor reading a book - time to read

The benefits of reading with children

  • Research has shown that children who make time to read for pleasure, do better at school. This extends to seemingly unrelated subjects, such as maths.
  • Reading together is a great way for families to bond and have fun together. Neither of our girls are talking yet, but in years to come, story time will provide a great opportunity for us to chat about their day.
  • Illustrated books can help parents to address challenging issues with their children. This year’s book, Little Monkey, is a really good example of this, as I will explain below.
  • During her speech and language therapy, Lottie often looks at illustrated books with her therapist. Reading is a great way for her to expand her vocabulary, and she will often try to say the names of things she sees in the pictures.
  • Illustrations bring books to life, expand stories beyond the words on the page and help make children creative, independent thinkers by pushing them to interpret the story themselves. While we read to the girls, we always talk about the pictures, and what’s going on in them, to make the story more fun and interesting, and they will often point things out that take their attention.


Our family doesn’t have any set times for reading together. The girls will quite often ask for stories after they’ve had their milk in the morning. I think it’s a nice quiet way to wake up before the chaos of the day begins. And we usually have stories at bedtime, as it’s part of the girls’ bedtime routine and helps them to know it’s time to wind down ready for sleep. Whatever time of day it is, I think it’s a really lovely thing to do together and is a great way to bond and spend time together.

18 month old girl reading a book on the sofa - time to read

About the Time to Read campaign

This September BookTrust is calling on families across the UK to recognise the importance of illustrated books and to have fun sharing these stories together as a way to inspire young readers.

I love the idea behind the campaign, which is all about getting families having fun sharing stories together, even once their children start to read on their own. Every year, BookTrust also gives away its nominated book to every reception age child. That’s 70,000 books every single year. It’s a lovely way to get all children involved in sharing stories, even if they don’t have many books at home. The books come with ideas and tips for parents too, to help those families who perhaps don’t have much focus on reading, to reap the benefits of sharing stories with their little ones.

The campaign website also gives lots more information and helpful tips, ideas and inspiration for parents, carers and families. Find out more at .

This year’s Time to Read book

We were delighted to discover that this year’s book is Little Monkey, by Marta Altes. Lottie is obsessed with monkeys, so she was super excited when I showed her the book.

mother making time to read with preschool girls

And in fact, the meaning behind the story, has a real resonance for me with Lottie’s life. It’s all about a monkey who is little, and as a result, often struggles to see, reach, or be part of the fun with the bigger monkeys.

But instead of getting downhearted, and giving up, the brave little monkey climbs to the top of the tallest tree in the jungle, so that she can see everything. ‘”I may be small, but I’m very brave,” she said.’

A tale of overcoming adversity. Of being brave, not giving up, and finding the positives in life. Just like my little monkey does every single day.

mother laughing with one year old on her lap, during time to read

The other books in our Time to Read bundle

Frankie’s favourite story in the bundle, was Vera Jewel is Late for school, by Nicola Kent. When Vera’s bike breaks on the way to school, she has to find a new way to get there. But every method of transport she tries, she ends up late for school. But she doesn’t give up, and eventually makes her own supersize bike, which finally gets her to school on time.

Frankie loved this story. And every time I said Vera was late for school, Frankie responded with ‘uh-oh’. The book has some lovely bright, detailed illustrations, which really captured Frankie’s attention and she spent ages looking at all the different parts of the pictures, pointing things out, trying to say words for the things she recognised.

mother making time to read with one year old on her lap

Next up was I am an artist, also by Marta Altes. The story is about a little boy who sees all of his escapades and adventures, as works of art. But his mum doesn’t quite see smashing mirror and painting chairs in quite the same way. So he makes one big piece of art to win her round… It’s a funny book and gives a different perspective on a toddler’s world. We laughed about all of the things Frankie and Lottie have done, which I have been cross about, and said that maybe they were art as well.

mother making time to read with three year old

And finally, but definitely the funniest book, was “You’re called what?” by Kes Gray and Nikki Dyson. Lottie thought this book was absolutely hilarious. And of course, the more she got the giggles, the more I did too. It’s a story about The Ministry of Silly Animal names, where you are introduced to lots of animals, with really silly names. The more we laughed, the less able I was to pronounce all of the names, which caused even more hilarity. It really is one of those books which gets everyone giggling.

three year old laughing at a story during time to read with mother

Win a book bundle

As part of the Time to Read campaign, BookTrust have kindly given us another book bundle to give away to one of you. The prize includes one of each of the four wonderful books outlined above, for you to share with your little ones.

Time to read book bundle prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. September 20, 2018 / 5:40 pm

    Totally agree! Reading is so important, not just for their development but also for bonding. I love that quiet time before bed when we’re just chilled out reading our favourite books! Great giveaway ???

  2. September 20, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    Great post, we also love books in our house. Especially my daughter Krystabelle who is always asking for me to read her a story.


  3. Laura Turner
    September 21, 2018 / 3:40 am

    It’s gotta be Gruffalo. My two just adore them.

  4. Karen hutchinson
    September 21, 2018 / 9:58 am

    Dinosaurs in the supermarket

  5. Helen Moulden
    September 21, 2018 / 10:51 am

    Flat Stanley because it never fails to make them laugh 🙂

  6. iain maciver
    September 21, 2018 / 12:58 pm

    the gruffalo

  7. Pam Francis Gregory
    September 21, 2018 / 5:18 pm

    The Gruffalo

  8. Andrea Fletcher
    September 21, 2018 / 6:46 pm

    My grandson loves We’re going on a bear hunt.

  9. Geri Gregg
    September 21, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    My son loves the very hungry caterpillar x

  10. Solange
    September 21, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    We love The Gruffalo.

    September 21, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    Anything to do with Thomas the Tank

  12. Sadiyya Maryam
    September 22, 2018 / 2:28 am

    Reading with and to your child is such an amazing thing. My daughter and I absolutely love reading together and I know it’s one of the most important things I have taught her. She still loves Rainbow Fish!

  13. Ray Becker
    September 22, 2018 / 9:45 am

    Wind in the willows

  14. Judith Lightfoot
    September 22, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    The very hungry caterpillar

  15. Jade Hewlett
    September 22, 2018 / 2:48 pm

    The Gruffalo, such a brilliant book and is read time and time again!

  16. judy kennedy
    September 22, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    The Secret Garden

  17. Lydia Joy
    September 23, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    We love Peepo. The hardback copy though

  18. Michelle Smith
    September 23, 2018 / 11:54 pm

    The hungry caterpillar

  19. Sarah B-H
    September 24, 2018 / 9:49 am

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear

  20. Amy Denney
    September 24, 2018 / 10:47 am

    Charlie chick is my little girls favourite book. We love books in our home x

  21. Lindsey Stuart
    September 24, 2018 / 10:54 am

    We love reading the Gruffalo it is a super exciting read.

  22. Sarah Summers
    September 24, 2018 / 11:18 am

    My kids love the animal boogie book

  23. Sally Collingwood
    September 24, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    Alexander loves The Gruffalo

  24. Michelle Ferguson
    September 24, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    My nephew loves the David Walliams books

  25. sandy lynn ralph
    September 24, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    my grandsons favourite right now is spider Sandwiches

  26. Michelle Corbett
    September 24, 2018 / 9:23 pm

    The mouse and the big red apple by A H Benjamin is a huge favourite in my house.

  27. Sheri Darby
    September 25, 2018 / 3:54 pm

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    September 25, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    Mr Tickle and the Dragon at the moment

  29. Fiona jk42
    September 25, 2018 / 11:15 pm

    My granddaughter loves The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which was the first proper story book we read together (as opposed to her baby board books which just had pictures and words). Now she enjoys lots of stories, especially anything by Julia Donaldson, such as Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo.

  30. paula cheadle
    September 26, 2018 / 1:15 am

    Mr Men and Little Miss books

  31. ruth lee
    September 26, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    gruffalos child

  32. donna l jones
    September 26, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    the gruffalo

  33. Rebecca Whatmore
    September 26, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    The Gruffalo at the moment

  34. Amy Briscoe
    September 26, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    I don’t know yet as I’m pregnant with my first, but I’d love to start a little book collection ?

  35. Rebecca Powell
    September 26, 2018 / 8:19 pm

    What The Ladybird Heard

  36. G Keegan
    September 26, 2018 / 10:10 pm

    The Gruffalo and Stick-Man are the current favourites in our house!

  37. September 26, 2018 / 10:18 pm

    My son loves stick man and my daughter just loves any book she is 2 and adores reading.

  38. Rebecca Nisbet
    September 26, 2018 / 10:20 pm

    its a rhyming story about 5 bored vikings, we both read it together and she loves doing the voices.

  39. Adrian Bold
    September 26, 2018 / 11:35 pm

    We all still love The Gruffalo – Thanks for the competition!

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