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  • Should shops have a reading corner for kids?

    It’s interesting how parenting roles change as your children get older. One minute you’re doing everything for them, the next they’re starting to do things for themselves... and before you know it there are things they definitely don’t want you doing for them – like taking them shopping!

    Now that my two are in their teens they’d be mortified if I tagged along on their shopping trips. But it doesn’t seem that long ago that they were hanging around my ankles, bored and fractious, while I tried to grab kids’ clothes off the rails and get to the tills before one of them had a meltdown.

    I have to say I don’t miss those stressful shopping expeditions. And today when I see parents trying to shop with kids I really feel for them. I’ve been there and know what it’s like! Which is why it’s great to see that some shops have introduced reading corners to keep kids occupied while their mum and dad shop. 

    reading corner, book corner, book corner in shops, book corner in cafe, kids retail Taking kids shopping, with a book. Credit @marthe.camille

    A reading corner to entertain kids while parents shop

    While there are retail outlets that cater for kids with soft play areas, touch-screen games and interactive entertainment, I like the idea of a little reading corner where children can sit and quietly read a book. The last thing you want when you’re out shopping is your kids running around getting hyper or spending more time staring at a screen. 

    With a reading corner, kids can pick a book and lose themselves in a brilliant story for a while. Instead of getting bored and rushing their parents to go, they’re more likely to want to stay. And if it inspired kids to read more at home, that would be a real bonus.

    It would be brilliant if more shops provided a book corner. It wouldn’t need to take up much space – some shops already use Tidy Books to create a reading space using our slimline bookcase  and portable book box  – yet it would make such a difference to the shopping experience. And how about a book corner in cafes, too? That would be perfect for shopping breaks when you have the kids in tow. Just imagine it – happy customers and happy kids... and no tantrums!

    * Would you like to see reading corners in shops?  Let me know what you think in the comments below

    tidy books, kids bookshelf, kids storage, kids furnitureGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world. 

  • Dogs, robots... and children's reading

    I’m all about finding ways to encourage children’s reading so I was intrigued to hear about an American research project that created a robot ‘book buddy’ to inspire kids to read.

    Minnie the robot was programmed so that as the children read aloud it made relevant comments – like ‘Oh, wow, I’m really scared’ when they got to a scary bit in the book. Minnie also made eye contact and small movements to replicate a real-life reading buddy. At the end of the two-week study , the children showed a high level of motivation to read along with positive benefits such as having a good understanding of the books and remembering more about them.

    childrens reading, children's reading, kids reading, reading therapy, reading therapy dogs, reading with robots, tidy books, independent reading All the joy of reading to yourself Photo @irina_pushko

    The researchers reckoned Minnie was successful because it acted as a non-judgemental children's reading partner. Having a robot to read to was fun and allowed the children to enjoy the simple act of reading without worrying about being corrected by an adult if they missed a word out or mispronounced something.

    It’s not the first research using non-human book buddies. In another American study youngsters who read aloud to dogs saw their reading skills improve by over 10% over ten weeks. Just like Minnie, the four-legged friends provided a relaxed environment where kids could make mistakes and carry on uncorrected.

    As parents, it’s easy to think the best way to help our kids become better readers is to put them right when they go wrong – but as these studies show when children are relaxed about reading they’re inspired to keep doing it. And the more they read the more they improve and the more their confidence grows.

    Frankly I’m glad that my kids didn’t have to resort to reading to a robot when they were growing up, but it’s good to know that if you spot your child curled up on the sofa with a book and the family cat they’re going to be just fine. 

    geraldine grandidier, tidy booksGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world. 

     

  • Is your child’s name inspired by a book?

    Have you ever been so inspired by a book that you chose a literary name for your baby ? Apparently, when J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books were published there was a rise in babies named after her famous characters – Harry, Hermione, Luna (Lovegood) and even baddie Lucius (Malfoy). And whenever Disney brings a character to life on screen there’s a surge in names like Elsa, from Frozen, and Ariel from The Little Princess.

    Funnily enough, I gave both my children literary names – only in my case they were inspired by the authors themselves. My daughter Adèle is named after Adèle Hugo, daughter of Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’s also a shortened version of Adelaïde, a character from a series of novels written by Émile Zola – who’s my favourite author. Not surprisingly, I called my son Émile.

    literary baby names, baby names, literary names, tidy books, literary characters, children's names Adele and Emile: Inspired by literary characters

    As an avid reader in my teens, I always knew that if I had children I’d name them after my favourite authors. I loved reading stories and I loved the idea of there being a story behind my children’s names. It felt significant and special.

    I could never have predicted then that I would grow up to run a business related to children’s books, but I guess it makes sense really. I’m passionate about getting kids excited about reading – which is why our book case and book box can be personalised with your children’s names. It’s a way of giving them their own little story and making them feel special, too.

    Going back to my own children, I’m lucky that my husband, Matthew, agreed with the names I chose. Though I must admit that while he was instantly taken with the idea of a daughter called Adèle, he wasn’t so sure about ‘Émile’ at first. But then, when the mid-wife asked us what we were calling our new-born son, Matthew instantly said ‘Émile’. To which – to my surprise – the midwife replied, ‘Oh, after Émile Zola?’

    You see – it’s a lovely story, isn’t it?

    geraldine grandidier, tidy booksGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

     

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