Where did your interest in reading and writing come from?
I seem to have had a passion for reading and writing ever since I can remember. I loved telling my own stories. I used to write plays. I remember once when the family was expecting guests, I wrote a play and commandeered my siblings to read out the parts with me and I recorded it on a tape recorder and played it back to our visitors. I was at the ripe old age of eight!
Where’s your favourite place to escape with a book?
In a comfortable old armchair by a roaring fire. It’s especially nice if it’s raining or snowing outside, then I can take myself away to the land in the book.
What are the benefits for families reading together?
There are so many benefits! First of all it strengthens your bond and it leaves your little ones feeling good about reading. It’s a cosy time and so beneficial as it helps your child to learn to listen and induces their use of imagination.
It also helps them to recognise words as they follow along and it encourages discussion on what they think is happening or might happen next in the pictures. It makes reading a pleasurable experience.
And, most of all, it’s fun! It teaches children that sitting still and listening can be enjoyable, which is especially helpful in establishing a calming routine at bedtime.
How do you think reading sparks imagination?
Reading can take us anywhere: to the moon, to distant planets, to exotic places and unique locations on the earth. It can take us into the jungle, where we can have conversations with trees and animals, great and small. When we tell a story to children their minds can imagine the joys, the struggles and the solutions that the characters may have.
What book would you recommend reading together?
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. It’s such a wonderful book about friendship and the importance of helping each other and working and playing together.
Finally, what piece of confidence-boosting advice would you give to parents when reading with their child?
The best thing to do is to start as early as you can. When you have your little one on your lap and you read a book with them, they haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about (you could be reading the Yellow Pages), but they love to hear your soothing tones and the sheer joy of being close to you gives them such a comforting feeling that reading becomes something they want to do…many times!
So, with your children, just read. They will thrive on it and you will grow in confidence!
Whether you’re reading their most-loved bedtime story or walking through the forest using your imagination to create your own, Center Parcs is the perfect place to tell stories together and get their imagination running wild.