These people are all taking on the Time to Read Challenge – will you?

Published on: 19 September 2017

Take the National Time to Read Challenge and you'll be joining some really big names and well-known children's authors – all coming together to have fun with their families.

Could you take our National Time to Read Challenge? You just need to spend ten fun minutes reading to your child every day this week (18-22 September).

Here's who's doing it too, and why...

Time to Read


Alex Jones

Becoming a parent can be pretty daunting and comes with a never-ending to do list but reading with your little ones needn’t be a chore. I started reading to Teddy before he was even born and I continue to read to him in both English and Welsh because I’d love for him to be bilingual too. Reading together is so much fun and helps us cement that bond. It doesn’t have to be regimented either, you can read anytime, anything and anywhere.

I’m supporting BookTrust’s National Time to Read challenge by turning off my email notifications for an hour a day and spending some of that time with a quality book!

Jeff Brazier

I absolutely loved reading when I was younger and always wanted to read comics, annuals or anything I could get my hands on. As a single dad, it is sometimes tough to find the time and it can often be easy to rely on technology as a distraction, but honestly, there’s no replacement for reading with your children. They love the story and even more so love the fact it’s you that’s reading and doing the silly voices.

You don’t have to read an entire book; short stories, comics or anything in they’re interested in will do. Have fun with it and if they see you’re enjoying it too then they’ll naturally want to continue the process.

I’ll continue to read with my boys, picking up a copy of their favourite magazine instead of going on social media of an evening and I encourage you to do the same for BookTrust’s National Time to Read challenge.

Fearne Cotton

I know sometimes we can feel like we're taking on too much and often there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I totally get that time can feel like a barrier, but all it really takes is ten minutes a day to read to your child and it helps to improve so many aspects of their lives, from social skills to wellbeing.

One of my favourite times of day is cuddling up with my kids at bedtime for a snuggle and a read. This year, for BookTrust’s National Time to Read Challenge, I’m putting screen time on hold to make the time to read instead.

Lauren Child

Reading aloud with your child at any age is a wonderful way of connecting because you see what excites them and interests them, and it’s also a way of understanding what’s going inside their head. And it’s letting them know by example that books are a good thing, creating a habit of reading and a special bond. It’s also a lovely way of winding down at the end of a day for both parent and child.

Axel Scheffler

I read to my nine-year-old daughter every night and it's more for an hour than ten minutes. It's great to have that time together – to share a story and to be able to talk about it. Sometimes I'm moved to tears by a touching passage in a book (the power of good children's literature!), and then she just laughs at me and says "but it's only a story!"

Nadia Shireen

I could spend ten minutes reading depressing news stories on my phone about the end of the world... OR I could spend that time cuddled up with my son reading a funny picture book about animals farting. When you put it like that, it's really no contest is it?

Dermot O’Leary

I loved being read to as a child and those moments when my niece and I share a book, letting our imaginations run wild, are pure bliss. Although it can be a struggle to find those magical moments, it is mega important that we all find the time to read with the children in our lives, helping them unlock the joys of reading.

I totally support BookTrust’s National Time to Read challenge and will be swapping social media for story time.

Edith Bowman

My family are big believers in the power of books and reading; we love how stories spark our imaginations and take us to magical worlds. I love to read with the boys at bedtime, putting on silly voices and escaping, but sometimes other commitments and distractions can mean these precious moments get missed.

To make sure I do spend quality time getting lost in books I am going to swap spending time on social media for reading as part of BookTrust’s National Time to Read challenge.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce

The great thing about reading to your kids at bedtime is that – if you find the right story – you become a child again for ten minutes and go adventuring beside them. The huge advantage it gives your child is that they grow up associating books and reading with the deepest source of pleasure – namely your company.

Sarah Crossan

Reading to my child is the only time during the day when I turn off my phone. I focus on the story and on cuddling my child and I've never once looked back and wished I'd spent the time on Twitter! An idea for finding the ten minutes is to read together over breakfast. My five-year-old doesn't notice the cereal has come without sugar and she leaves the house laughing and happy!

Lauren Laverne

Mel Giedroyc

Reading can be such a playful and fun way to bring a family together. Even when your kids have grown up there are still ways you can read together or share stories.

I fully support BookTrust’s National Time to Read challenge and I'll be challenging my family to watch less TV and do some reading for ten minutes or more a day instead.

S F Said

I learned to read very young; my earliest memories are of being read to by members of my family. I remember going to school and being amazed that other kids my age couldn't read – I know it gave me a huge head start, and that's why I support BookTrust's National Time to Read Challenge!

Helen Skelton

Story time with my boys is one of our favourite things to do. We have read to my son since an early age, it's the only way to get him to calm down and sit down. There are so many things that need doing it can be hard to find the time but for the time being we have swapped box sets for bed time books as part of BookTrust's National Time to Read challenge. For now, my little man loves tales of dinosaurs and dragons as much as we do, and I am hoping he carries this love of books into his teenage and adult years.

Michael Rosen

Listen and watch your children as they listen to you reading or telling a story. If you just read and don’t pay attention then it’s very hard and that’s how your reading can dry up. The fun is in the watching and listening to how your children respond. So even with something as dull as the Argos catalogue, there’s a fascination in watching your child. So when you get to Where the Wild Things Are there is so much there to watch them get excited about, scared of. Look at The Gruffalo! He’s so scary when you’re two. That Gruffalo could eat you, you are the mouse! Do we have to read the next page mum, do we really? Well, it turns out okay! That’s all important. That’s your kiddie. 

Johnny Ball

It's really important to encourage children to read. I write books about maths and science history – so that children and adults can look at subjects in a different way and uncover the wonders found beyond numbers. I have always tried to put aside other things including watching TV to find the Time to Read with my grandchildren. It's so rewarding. That's why I think the BookTrust’s National Time to Read challenge is a fantastic way to broaden our children's horizons. After all, they are our future.

Michael Morpurgo

For me, the best kind of stories to read to my grandchildren are the ones they love to hear over and over again, when they know what will come next, and can barely wait for it to happen. And when you have finished, they either want it all over again, or they insist that you read another one and then another one. And on it goes. Exhausting, exhilarating, wonderful. For BookTrust’s National Time to Read challenge, I’m swapping the 6 o’clock news to get lost in stories with my grandchildren.

Sarah Beeny 

I’ve got four boys who are all varying degrees of reluctant readers, so reading is something of a talking point in our family. What I do know is that despite finding it hard to read they all love books – we have book cases everywhere and they have always been read to by us on a variety of subjects from history, fiction and news. Setting time aside to engage with books is utterly essential to ignite a love of reading and a love of reading is a gift so great, it stands you in good stead for the rest of your life.

So even though it is sometimes hard work to tie them down, I pledge to make sure I read with each of my children for ten minutes a day for BookTrust’s National Time to Read challenge. Now is never too late. 

Lucy Owen

There’s nothing I love more than spending time reading with my son. It’s so wonderful seeing him get absorbed into a story, and I always feel really close to him when we share a book together – we laugh and we learn.

It’s not hard to take just ten minutes every day to pick up a book and have that a special time. I usually read with Gabriel at bedtime, but for BookTrust’s National Time to Read Challenge, I’m going to make sure I don’t hit the snooze button in the mornings and have a bit of extra time reading with my son before breakfast.

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Topics: Time to Read, Blog

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