Families in Cambridge enjoy their BookTrust packs

Published on: 10 November 2023

As Story Sharer Week comes to an endhere’s how parents in Cambridge feel about the books and reading support they received in their Bookstart Toddler packs. 

Sally McGivern, Child and Family Centre Worker for Cambridge City Child and Family Centresknows how to work a room of toddlers. 

While leading an animated group session sharing stories and rhymes at a children’s centre, Sally hands each parent a Bookstart Toddler pack of their own to take home. After seeing how their children react to the catchy rhymes, finger puppets and tactile books on offer, parents are thrilled to be able to take the fun home with them. 

Rumalie is here with her ten-month-old son, and her eldest child has just started school. This means she and her youngest son are now spending a lot more time just the two of them.  

I want them both to be more involved in books,” she says, “because I think it’s important for young minds to look at books and see pictures. I’m glad I came here and got this book pack, so I can use them with him.  

What does she think of the books inside the Bookstart Toddler pack?

They’re really good for his age, she says, holding a copy of Look At Me by Sally Symes, illustrated by Nick Sharratt“Especially this one, because when I put my fingers in and turned each page, he was more interested in looking at it.” 

He especially loved the puppet, and particularly Where are the Yellow Chicks, Spot? by Eric Hillbecause he loved the texture- and when I opened it, he was surprised! 

During the session, Sally points out the QR code on the back of the Bookstart Toddler pack, which takes families to the BookTrust website, where they’ll find more of our age-appropriate book recommendations, videos, tips and ideas for bringing the stories and rhymes in the pack to life. 

“The fact I can use the QR code to access more books and activities is good, because most days I want to do something special with him to make sure he gets more knowledge at this age,” says Rumalie.  

Veronika is also here with her daughter – and is keen to build her vocabulary through songs and stories. “Me and my husband are both Czech,” she says.We would like to expose Bella to an English-speaking environment, as much as possible, which is important for me because I’m not a native speaker. Sally is showing us new songs and vocabulary. I can see that Bella is catching up with the words. 

Opening her family’s new copy of Where are the Yellow Chicks, Spot? Veronika says“Bella is turning two soon, and I think she’sat the stage where she enjoys books like this. She already knows that this is blue, for example, so she can name it and she’s happy that she can name it. 

Veronika also appreciates the cards in the Bookstart Toddler pack, which include lyrics to nursery rhymes and suggestions for activities to try with children: “I’m always happy to learn new songs,” she says. “And especially to have the text - I feel much better if there is a cardThere are little tips,which are also very cute.” 

Veronika adds:It’s so nice for me and for my husband as well to observe how Bella is enjoying books. This is just the perfect activity for parents to involve them more and to inspire them.” 

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