Lauren Laverne – how to make reading fun (even when you're exhausted)
Published on: 22 May 2017
Lauren Laverne talks to us about reading on the go with her children, and shares her own favourite books from childhood.
Busy broadcaster Lauren Laverne knows full well that every parent and carer is just 'muddling through'. However, she's found some sneaky ways of squeezing a love of reading into the family routine…
Why do you think it's important that parents and carers share books with their children from an early age?
Reading books with your children is a lovely time that you can share together. It is good for bonding and for your relationships, for both the parent and child.
It is also a lovely way to inspire children's imaginations and for the parents and carers to explore that imagination with them, as children are always going to bring something to it that is unexpected.
As much as you think you are opening doors for them and you're introducing them to these amazing new worlds and adventures, they will probably be doing the same to you!
Children so often bring their own perspectives to books, and shared reading can be a nice "discovering" to make together.
How often do you read with your children?
We all try and read together every day, when we can.
My little one is six and he is learning to read, which is fab - so we tend to share books together every night. Sometimes it is quite nice to read a book with them over breakfast because when they are little, they can get so tired at bedtime.
My big one is nine and he reads on his own, although occasionally he will read to me, which is amazing, as he's like 'Check this out, this is hilarious!' He is a voracious chapter book man, and a massive graphic novel fan - plus anything that is just funny.
Did your parents read to you when you were growing up?
Yes, constantly, all the time! My dad used to sing books to me sometimes. He used to play the guitar and sing the story. It helped introduce me to reading. He did that with the Railway Cat, and I remember that really strongly. My mam was a primary school teacher so I started reading quite early, which meant by the time I got to school, I could read - which was lovely.
Do you remember any of the books you used to read with them?
I remember my dad used to read me Enid Blyton's Tales from Toyland, which are some of the slightly underground Blytons. It's because I was in love with Emilia Jane; I desperately wanted to be "Naughty Emilia Jane". I don't think you were supposed to want to be her, but I just really did! I do remember the Railway Cat, and I'm sure my dad does, too - probably thinking "Just go to sleep!"
We know how hard it can be to find the time to read as a family. Do you have any tips?
I don't want to dish out tips because we are all just muddling through. Finding the time to read can be really hard sometimes, but the great thing about reading is that it is everywhere - so you can read street signs on the walk to school or set them challenges.
I've been known, when I'm extremely tired, just to tip those letters that you stick on the shower screen into the bath and say to the kids: 'You know what? Make as many words as you can on the walls around the bath.' You don't have to do conventional things. You can make it fun or set them a challenge - even with adverts on walls. When you're pushed for time, you can just do a bit of that!
Lauren Laverne is the voice of our irresistibly cute new online storybook for National Bookstart Week, Everybunny Dance!
Bookstart offers the gift of free books to all children at key stages before they start school. We provide parental guidance materials to inspire a love of reading in babies, toddlers and preschoolers as well as helping professionals to support families.