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Scottish Book Trust’s guide to sharing books with your three-year-old. Includes exclusive interviews with Lorraine Kelly and Kenny Logan


ELCOME to Bookbug’s essential guide to sharing books with your child. Bookbug is part of Scottish Book Trust, the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. Our programmes reach people all over Scotland and help children and adults alike to be inspired by books! e Bookbug programme aims to provide free packs of books to every child in Scotland. It also involves a range of fun, free activities such as Bookbug Sessions, where babies, toddlers and their parents come together to enjoy rhymes, sing songs and listen to stories. e Bookbug guide is all about sharing books with your child. It’s filled with tips about the best places to get books, suggestions for stories we think your child will love, ideas on how to encourage language development – and insights into why enjoying books together has so many benefits. roughout the publication you can read about parents’ own experiences of supporting their child in learning about books, language and storytelling. We would like to hear about your experiences of enjoying books with your child. Get in touch with us by emailing We hope you enjoy this edition of Bookbug, and look forward to hearing from you!

This guide is available in other formats. For further information, please email Bookbug and all illustrations in the guide by Debi Gliori

Cert no. TT-COC-002217

MEET OUR EXPERTS A team of advisers shared their ideas and experience with us, helping to shape this edition of Bookbug. They are (left to right): Kim Hartley (Scotland

officer, Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists), Dr Suzanne Zeedyk (senior lecturer in developmental

psychology, University of Dundee) and Dr Moira Leslie (lecturer at Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh)

BOOKBUG ALERT! Bookbug packs are gifted through health visitors, libraries and early years settings at around eight weeks, 18 months and three years old. Make sure you know when your next pack is due by registering online at the address below. You will also receive special emails on the day of your child’s birthday, full of book suggestions and handy tips!

CONTENTS Getting started

Supporting your child

4 Waking up to words Exclusive interview with GMTV presenter Lorraine Kelly

7 Sit back and relax…

12 Breaking down barriers

Books & activities

Language & rhyme

18 Books we think your child will love

26 Word power

We recommend some of the best stories available

Revealing the many benefits of being bilingual

27 Talking your language

Rugby star Kenny Logan on how dyslexia affected his childhood

Celebrating Scots rhyme

How reading together benefits you and your child

20 Where to get books Whether you are borrowing or buying, here is where to go

8 Practical tips for parents Ideas to help give your child a love of reading for life

14 Reading with blind or deaf children

28 Make time for a rhyme

Making storytelling fun for children with additional support needs

How music and song can improve your child’s language skills

16 Look who’s talking Ideas to boost your child’s language skills

22 Bookbug’s Library Challenge The free programme encouraging children to love their library

10 Meaningful marks 23 Reading all together

Tips for encouraging your child’s first attempts at writing and drawing

11 Count me in Why everyday activities can help your child understand numbers

Sharing books with different ages

17 Step by step Milestones to watch out for in your child’s development

24 Let’s have fun together! A handy guide to pirate games and activities

29 Bookbug Sessions Find out about our free, friendly local events aimed at having fun together

30 Pirate rhymes Pirate-themed songs for you and your child to enjoy

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Waking up to words Peach Pear Plum. It’s great for their imagination. Bath time or just before they go to sleep is a great time to do it. We read e Wind in the Willows, e Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and everything by AA Milne. It was great to rediscover stories like that through reading to Rosie. People like JK Rowling have helped to get kids reading again and I hugely admire her for that.

GMTV presenter Lorraine Kelly talks to Scottish Book Trust about her lifelong passion for reading, writing her autobiography – and her most embarrassing moment HOW DID YOU FIND TIME TO READ TO YOUR DAUGHTER

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always surrounded by books when I was growing up, and I think that influenced how I read to my daughter. My mum taught me to read and write before I went to primary school, so I had a huge advantage. From a tiny age all my family were great readers and there were lots of books in the house. I always have a book in my bag and I’m always reading. I still have all my books from when I was a wee girl. Even when my daughter Rosie was a baby I read to her – picture books about animals and stories like Each


Even when my daughter was a baby I read to her. Bath time or just before they go to sleep is a great time to do it

She had lots. Each Peach Pear Plum, anything by Dr Seuss, like Green Eggs and Ham, and Enid Blyton’s St Clare’s books. She reads the Twilight books now. She’s always reading! WHAT DO YOU ENJOY READING?

I have a huge collection of books about Antarctica, which I love. I did Russian at school so I read


and an extremely well-read and absolutely fascinating man. He could communicate with anyone without ever being patronising, which is a real talent. He was a raconteur, writer and actor; he had such a long and varied career.

and reread a lot of Tolstoy and Turgenev. I also like Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy. HOW DO YOU RELAX? I do read

books to relax but I also have to read for work. I’ve always got a book on the go. I like to go back to old favourites. My dad is really interested in astronomy. It’s fascinating to look back at astronomy books that were written in the 1960s and see how things have changed.


Pooh. He was cheeky and a rebel – I really liked that. But my favourite character of all time would have to be Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment.


and that was fine but it was a cutand-paste job with lots of mistakes in it. I thought it would be good fun to write something myself. I loved the process of writing – talking to my family and finding out stories from them. But writing fiction is a real job. If I did it, it would have to be for the right reasons – something I was devoted to and really believed in. HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF WRITING CHILDREN’S BOOKS YOURSELF? Children’s books


are incredibly hard to write. It’s a very demanding audience! You have to have a talent for creating an absorbing story that’s completely engaging for children. You need to be starry-eyed!

Lorraine's childhood experiences of books influenced how she read to her daughter

GMTV? I was coming down the stairs on one of the shows and I just fell over! I have an earpiece so that the producers can tell me things while we’re on air and all I could hear in my ear was them howling with laughter! When something like that happens you just admit it and go with it. I stood up and I’d skinned my knees. I said, “Does anyone have any ideas about how to help someone who’s skinned their knees?” And lots of people sent in suggestions.


My favourite places in Scotland

Orkney and Barra

I am currently reading

South by Ernest Shackleton

I always wanted to grow up to be

Jo from Little Women

My earliest memory

Being outside our single end in the Gorbals when I was about two, bawling my head off because I had a scratchy woolly hat on! My daughter’s first word

“Dada”, swiftly followed by “no”!

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ere are a few! George Clooney and Will Smith are always a joy to interview because they treat the whole thing as fun and make it so easy for you. Paul O’Grady was the surprise host for my 50th birthday show on GMTV and he is a delight – funny and generous but with that brilliant waspish humour. And Peter Ustinov was lovely. He was a great communicator

LONDON? GMTV have allowed

me to stay up here – they’ve been fantastic. I do the Monday and Tuesday shows live in London and then record two days. So I’m only away from home for two days. It has meant that Rosie could go to school in Scotland. I feel very lucky to be able to live here. I love London but it’s great to be able to live in Scotland and be with my family – it’s the best of both worlds. ●

Sit back and relax Cuddling up together to read a story brings a surprising range of benefits for children and parents, as Suzanne Zeedyk explains Emotional benefits Effects on your child’s brain and body

This is an opportunity to share experiences and have fun together. You can link events in the story with your child’s feelings, and explore new emotions by talking about the experiences of the characters.

Every time your child enjoys time reading with you, important neural pathways in their brain are being strengthened.

Your child will be anticipating your attention. If they point to a picture of a dog in a story, and say “Dog!”, they may turn to look at you and expect a positive response. If you say “Well done!” or “Yes, that’s a dog”, you help reinforce their confidence, and emphasise a shared understanding between you.

If story time is part of a predictable evening routine, this will be good for the development of the amygdala, which is a part of the brain that processes emotions.

When your child cuddles up to you, their body produces a hormone called oxytocin (sometimes called the ‘cuddle chemical’). This brings a feeling of contentment and security, a reduction in the heart rate and a sense of calmness and relaxation. Dr Suzanne Zeedyk is senior lecturer in developmental psychology at the University of Dundee

Learning and development

If you aren't a very confident reader yourself, don’t worry. Make up some stories about the pictures. The most important thing for children is that they are having an enjoyable time with you.

You and your child are giving joint attention to the story in both pictures and ideas. This is an ideal setting for learning new words and concepts. You can also relate what you read to things your child has recently experienced.

Bedtime stories help to establish an understanding of boundaries. You can do this by telling your child how many stories you’re going to read and then saying before the last one, “Okay, we will read one more story and then we’ll say goodnight.”

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Practical tips for parents IT DOESN’T HAVE TO TAKE LONG! You just


need a few minutes every day to read together. Sit your child on your knee or anywhere close to you, and simply turn the pages of a book, chatting about the pictures. Reading to your child helps you both enjoy special quiet moments together every day – and it’s the perfect time to have a cuddle!





Encourage everyone to share books with your child – grandparents, carers, older brothers and

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Follow our advice and give your child a love of reading for life

sisters, and friends. ey could also recommend favourite stories, authors or places to get books. READ ANYTHING Choose something that you like to read. It doesn’t matter what you pick – it could be stories, poems, comics or rhymes. If you enjoy reading, your child will notice.


READ TO YOUR CHILD AT BEDTIME It’s a great way to end the day on a calm, positive note for both of you. Your child will sleep better if they feel relaxed and so will you!


BOOKS MAKE GREAT PRESENTS Suggest to friends and relatives that they buy your child a book as a gi for a special occasion. And if you go to a birthday party, buy a book – it’s cheap and it’s sure to be a hit.



TAKE A BOOK WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO You can look at it with your

child when you’re waiting for the bus, visiting the doctor or sitting on a train. Children are better behaved when they have something to focus on, and reading a storybook is ideal.

of ensuring that books become a central part of your child’s life.



Children are never too young to join. It’s free and you can borrow a great selection of books. Let your child pick books they like – and choose a few you’d like to read too. LIBRARY

BOOKS ENCOURAGE WRITING Sharing books together will inspire your child to begin drawing, writing and coming up with their own stories. Encourage your child to do this by sending a pirate postcard to a grandparent.



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LOVER It won’t be long before your child brings their favourite books to you, asking you to read with them. Children love reading the same book again and again and knowing what happens next – so enjoy it with them! Follow their lead and look for interesting new details on the page.


BOOKSHELF! Make sure books are easy for your child to find and pick up around the house. Why not put a few inside your child’s toy box too? Or under their pillow, or in the bathroom? It’s a simple way



IN LIFE Sharing books with your child will help develop their listening and language skills. ey will also find learning to read much easier when they start school. ●

My experience… Alison (28), mum to Gemma (four), and Rory (18 months) “My kids both like books with textures to touch or little doors to open. They like books with strong rhythms and brightly coloured pictures. I found it hard at first when the older one wanted the same books again and again but I realised that this really helped her understand the stories. Now she has

started wanting to make her own little ‘books’ by sticking her drawings together. When I was heavily pregnant with my second child, books were a lifesaver. When I got exhausted in the afternoons I would snuggle up with my daughter and read while getting a lie-down!”

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Meaningful marks Your child’s early attempts at writing can be fascinating and fun. Moira Leslie explains what you can do to encourage them


HARInG storybooks and rhymes with children from day one is great fun. It is also likely to have a positive impact on their early literacy development. Talking, reading and writing are all connected, so as well as frequent book-reading, your child will benefit from lots of opportunities to explore and play with different writing materials. Try to involve your child as oen as possible in activities such as writing shopping lists, birthday cards and notes. As your child sees you writing, reading back what you have written and talking about why you are writing, they will probably want to have a go at writing too. Praise and encourage your child whenever you see him or her experimenting with writing while playing. Talking with young children about their

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Maya, 22 months, drawing a play park (below), and an envelope on which she has written her name (above). Note the ‘m’

mark-making and early attempts at writing is an important first step in helping them understand the connections between reading and writing. You are unlikely to be able to ‘read’ any of your child’s early pieces of writing! Very early attempts will take many forms – they might look like random marks or scribbles on the page. Later, you might be able to pick out shapes that look like invented or recognisable letters, perhaps from your child’s name. Whatever your child produces, show that you are interested in it and that you feel it is important. You can do this by having a conversation about what they were thinking about when they did the writing, and by asking them to read it aloud to you. By joining in this enjoyable writing play with your child and talking together, you will begin to find out what he or she

understands about writing. is will give you ideas about how to support and develop this interest. Young children’s mark-making and early attempts at writing are fascinating. Collect examples as your child is growing up and you will have a precious keepsake from these important first years of development. ● Dr Moira Leslie is a lecturer at Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh

Top tips Make special books with your child using photographs of family, favourite toys, pets, your street… the list is endless! Make up the story together and let your child see the words appearing on the page as you write their contribution. Your child will love sharing these books and will probably try to read them to you! Put together a special box of interesting writing materials and involve your child in choosing what to put in the box. Paper folded into different book shapes will encourage your child to have a go at creating their own little books.

Count me in Everyday activities can help young children grasp the basics of maths, explains Professor AlineWendy Dunlop

Professor AlineWendy Dunlop is chair of childhood and primary studies in the Faculty of Education, University of Strathclyde


HEn MY first grandchild was three weeks old, my younger daughter and I were visiting just before bath time. Calum was lying kicking on his bath towel. His admiring audience sat close in, faces within his view. He looked from one adult face to another in turn. en his mum went to fill his baby bath. Calum again looked round the faces – one, two, three – where was his mum? One, two, three, and he cried. As a fond granny with a passion for child development, I declared, “Calum’s going to be great at maths – he’s counting already!” How can we ensure that children grow up with a useful grasp of mathematics and numbers? Opportunities to develop basic numeracy surround us in our everyday lives. Parents and carers typically chat to even very young children about the mathematical tasks they themselves undertake. Almost every activity during the day provides opportunities to talk about numbers with little ones. ese can include: • Writing a shopping list with ‘how many’ of each item is needed • Pressing the button for the right floor in the li • Spotting the bus number at the bus stop • Buying enough sausages for tea • Making sure there is a cup or piece of toast or apple for everyone • Looking at books such as e Very Hungry Caterpillar which make numbers, counting and sequencing part of the story

• naming and counting everyone in a family photo • Singing songs such as ‘One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive’ • Playing with fingers and toes • Pouring water in and out of containers in the bath • Stacking beakers by size • Counting candles on birthday cakes • Sorting the washing into piles • Picking up shells, leaves, sticks, clothes pegs and toys • Counting the steps upstairs to bed. ese everyday activities indirectly and quite naturally help little children to enjoy ‘the language of maths’ from an early age. Most children will soon notice if there is a banana short at teatime, if there aren’t enough sweeties to go round or if one foot has lost its sock. With the help of their parents, children will naturally develop a playful understanding of number, colour, shapes, groups, one-to-one matching, counting, classifying and sequencing. A child who uses number concepts in these practical ways is already a mathematician! A strict or formal approach to numeracy is not needed with the youngest children. But an adult who notices maths and numbers in everyday things can help children to be observant too, to count, to use number names and to have fun in a practical way. ●

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Breaking down barriers Rugby player Kenny Logan talks about fatherhood, his first book – and why being dyslexic doesn’t have to hold you back HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU FOUND OUT THAT YOU WERE DYSLEXIC? I was 16 or 17. I lived through my childhood thinking I was thick. It wasn’t until a teacher helped me aer school that I understood. e only thing I was told was that it wasn’t about being stupid. My teacher started telling me about people who were dyslexic who had been very successful, like Winston Churchill and Jackie Stewart, and that made me feel better. e first book I read was Lassie, which is probably aimed at a nine or ten-year-old child. at took a year to read. I was so tired by trying to read it – I couldn’t take it in.

made me understand it better and feel good about it. WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT DO YOU THINK DYSLEXIC CHILDREN NEED TO BE GIVEN BY THEIR


FAMILIES? It’s really important


to recognise that every child is different. My wife Gabby and I have twins, a girl and a boy. My daughter, aged four, takes everything in like a sponge, but with my son you have to sit down and really talk to him. e most important thing is praise – talk to them, help them understand, spend time with them, and be positive. I don’t shout at them, I speak to them. I try to treat them as if we’re players in a rugby team

FOR KICKS? e best thing about

the book was actually doing it – I wrote about and talked about things I’d never opened up about before. It was a journey. When I got to the part about school I didn’t want to continue with it because it was such a sad part of my life. But then I got into it again. Talking about dyslexia and seeing how other young children cope with it has

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The only thing I was told was that it wasn’t about being stupid

– you go and help them! Communicating with your kids is essential. I don’t think I could have told my mum or dad that I couldn’t read; I was so frustrated as a kid and it hindered me. Children need to be able to speak and be heard by their mums and dads and teachers. HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED PREJUDICE ABOUT BEING DYSLEXIC AS AN ADULT? In the

past the hardest thing for me was telling people. But now if I can’t spell someone’s name I just ask them, even if I have to ask them three times – by the third time I’ll definitely be able to write it down. I’m lucky – if I say

I’m dyslexic people are interested because I’m in the media. I le school without a qualification and I didn’t go to university, but I’ve done okay as a rugby player and then in business. In the business world there are many people who are dyslexic or who can’t read but they’re hugely successful and happy in their careers. It doesn’t have to hold you back.

Exposure to books is essential when learning to read – and particularly helpful for children who may be dyslexic, writes Kathleen Clark


YSLExIA, as literally translated, means a difficulty with words. It can result in children struggling to learn to read and write. Dyslexia has other characteristics in addition to poor literacy development. It tends to run in families and can affect spoken language development, co-ordination, memory skills, organisational skills, and the processing of information received via the ears and/or the eyes. Unfortunately it is more common to hear about the negative aspects of being dyslexic rather than the success achieved by many who are affected by it. It is a subject that can cause much anxiety for parents.

WHAT WAS THE NICEST THING THE RUGBY COMMENTATOR BILL McLAREN EVER SAID ABOUT YOU? He used to call me “a son of the soil, a little farmer boy from Stirling”! I had a lot of respect for him; I grew up listening to him, and he was one of the biggest influences on my rugby career. He was the nicest man, and such a big figure in Scotland – he was loved. When you travelled around the world, the first question from other rugby players would always be, “Have you met Bill McLaren?” His commentary was so honest; he made you feel like you were part of the game. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR RUGBY CAREER? Four things stand out. Winning the league for Stirling County in 1994/95. Winning the Five nations in 1999 playing for Scotland – not many people get the opportunity to play for their country and win for your country. Moving to [English professional rugby union team] London Wasps – going to a big club and having such an impact. And the amount of good people I’ve met through my rugby career has been very special. I look back at rugby and enjoy and appreciate everything that it has given me. ●


Kathleen Clark recently retired as a senior lecturer at the University of Strathclyde where she was course director of the Masters programme in Educational Support. Her specialist area is dyslexia

Recent research refers to dyslexia as a ‘difference’ in the way the brain deals with learning, rather than something wrong with brain function. Many people who are dyslexic have exceptional talents as a result of such difference. In very young children it is not possible – or desirable – to conclude that they may be dyslexic. This is because children develop different skills in a time frame that varies from child to child. Sometimes

children may produce words with a jumbled sequence of sounds, saying things like ‘vigenar’ instead of ‘vinegar’ – but all children will do this at some point while learning new vocabulary. LISTENING, SEEING AND DOING

Young children should have lots of opportunities to hear and repeat words, rhymes and stories. is helps build up their vocabulary and tune in to words, regardless of whether or not they may be dyslexic. e more exposure children have to books, the better prepared they will be to learn to read – and later to write. Try to: • Read to your child every day • Let your child see you reading in the home and enjoying it • Let your child choose the books they want to read. Hearing stories, touching books, talking about the pictures, and pretend writing and drawing of stories will make the experience a multi-sensory one. is means children will learn and remember better by using the skills of listening, seeing and doing. Such a multi-sensory approach works for all children and is particularly important if dyslexia is a possibility. So even if children have problems reading at some point, early immersion in language will help them overcome difficulties. Parents and carers, therefore, have a crucial role to play in engaging their children in the joy of books. ●

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OOKS CAn spark children’s imaginations, reassure them and help them relax. Pages with shapes and textures can develop your child’s confidence in using their hands. Learning to hold a book and turn pages is an important skill for the future. Most importantly, books can be fun! SHARING BOOKS WITH BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED CHILDREN

If your child is blind or partially sighted, sharing a story with them can be a happy, positive and helpful thing to do. Listening to your voice as you read and sing gives blind and partially sighted children a feel for the sounds and rhythms of language. WHICH BOOKS SHOULD I CHOOSE?

• Blind or partially sighted children may not be familiar with things that they might otherwise absorb by seeing the world around them. So books about things your child has recently experienced, or ideas that are familiar to them, can be a good starting point • Look for books with print that is easy to read • Books that have words in plain bold lettering and text written on a plain background are best • Choose stories with simple, bold illustrations and clear outlines • Books featuring clear photos of real objects can be useful • Start with books that have flaps, noises or textures to enjoy • Books with songs and rhymes help younger children with communication skills. ey are lots of fun and mean other family members can join in too. HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY CHILD FEELS INVOLVED?

• Get them to help hold the book and turn the pages • Ask them lots of questions as you read and explain things they don’t understand • Relate things in the books to things your child knows about (for example, you could ask, “You’ve got a teddy too, haven’t you?”) • Give your child their own bookshelf and encourage them to choose which books to read • Adding tactile pictures or text stickers can help blind or partially sighted children find their favourite books

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• If you’re using touch-and-feel books, remember to talk through what a child is about to feel so that unexpected textures do not come as a shock when they’re touched! • Make sharing books a daily pleasure. MAKE IT FUN

• Try changing stories to fit with your child’s experience, or replace character names with family names • Get your child to say what will happen next or fill in missing words • Put your body into the position of the character in the story and let your child climb around you to get a ‘picture’ of what is happening • Add sound effects and use your voice playfully to pretend that you are different characters in the story • Encourage your child to take on a character’s role and act out the story.


• Very young children like books that are highly visual and colourful with clear, uncluttered images • Touch-and-feel books with different textures are great fun • Look for books that relate to experiences your child has had • Start with books that have flaps, patterns or textures to enjoy.

Reading with blind or deaf children Children with additional support needs can enjoy books as much as anyone else. Here are some suggestions for how you can help


• ink about how to sit so your child is at your level and can see your face so you can establish good eye contact • Make sure there is enough light so your face and the book can be seen clearly • If you don’t use BSL (British Sign Language) try using gestures to support the visual communication between you

Gabriel, who has a hearing impairment, enjoying a book with his dad

• Take your time so children can see the pictures, text and your facial expressions • Try propping the book up in front of you facing the child, even if you have to read the text upside down! • Encourage children to talk about emotions by looking at the character’s expressions • Get your child to say what will happen next and fill in missing words and sounds • Repeat the same stories again and again. is will help develop language and be reassuring for your child. MAKE IT FUN

• Try using real objects and props to act out the story • Use funny facial expressions to keep children entertained • Play at dressing up as characters and using puppets • Make a ‘story sack’ and fill it with interactive materials to bring a book to life. ● Not all these suggestions will apply to your child but they may be a useful starting point.

For further advice, contac t



A free service that offers spe cialist touch-and-feel books. Contact: 01635 299771; CLEA

Very young children like books that are highly visual and colourful with clear, uncluttered images

RVISION A library ser vice for touch-and-feel Braille and Mo on books. Contact: 020 8789 9575; SCOTTISH BRAILLE PR ESS

Contact: 0131 662 4445 illepress

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Join in with your child’s pretend play – and let them take the lead

Look who’s talking Top tips for developing your child’s language and communication skills by Kim Hartley


PEECH AnD language is central to the way parents and children make a connection with one another. By talking to your child and responding to what they say and do, you are creating a bond with them that will last your whole life. Speech and language development needs to happen before your child can make a start on reading and writing. Although children develop communication skills at different rates, there are lots of things parents can do to help. • Having a dedicated time each day to talk about what has happened will help your child’s memory. It’s also a chance for them to practise talking about

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things outside the ‘there and then’. Use pictures or objects to help focus children’s attention – for example, illustrations in books or puppets acting out stories. Talk about or play games involving opposites, like ‘on and off ’ or ‘big and little’. Join in with your child’s pretend play – and let them take the lead. Try to comment on what they are saying and doing rather than asking lots of questions. is not only reinforces their language skills, but also shows them that you are interested and listening to them. Reversing roles with a child, where they are the mummy or daddy and ask you to do things, can be great fun. is sort of

activity helps children develop language for new situations. IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S SPEECH, LANGUAGE OR COMMUNICATION...

Kim Hartley is Scotland officer at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

Let your health visitor know or ask your local speech and language therapist for an appointment. You can find your local speech and language therapist through your health board, nursery, GP or in the phone book. ●

More advice, ideas and tips... The tips above come from Talking Point (, a website full of ideas, advice and useful resources to help children develop speech, language and communication. Talking Point was produced by experts from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, I CAN and AFASIC.

Step by step All children develop at different stages, but here are some milestones to watch out for – while parents give us their perspective on learning These are guidelines only, and may not reflect your child’s behaviour or stage of development. Talk to your GP or health visitor if you have concerns

Three years


Tanja, mother of Ronja (three) and Tomi (two): “My daughter made us all laugh when she mastered saying her own name in full and then greeted everyone she met in the street by telling them what it was! We praised her a lot when she got it right – and she then moved on to learning her address!”

At three your child may: • Listen eagerly to stories and ask for favourites to be repeated • Know several nursery rhymes • Be able to say his or her full name, sex and age • Ask many questions, beginning with ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ • Enjoy make-believe play involving imaginary people and things • Join in play with other children.

Four years


Aged four your child may: • Speak in a more straightforward, confident and direct way, for example “I did that before”, “I need the toilet”, “What’s for lunch?” • Ask lots of questions! • Draw recognisable figures with faces and limbs • Recognise some numbers and be able to count from one to ten • Recognise some letters • Show an interest in how their name looks written down • Prefer to play in a group of up to three children.

Jackie, mother of Ashley (four): “My mum – Ashley’s granny – told me to say something general like ‘Tell me about your drawing’ when Ashley draws a picture, rather than offending her by thinking her dog is a giraffe!”

Five years • • • • • • • •

At five your child may: Talk in full sentences Be able to complete a few simple sums Count up to ten objects Show an interest in protecting and caring for a younger brother or sister Ask adults meaningful questions, such as “What is this for?”, “How does this work?” Be comfortable when separated from a parent at nursery or school Play in more defined groups of two to five Develop stronger and more enduring friendships.


Mike, father of Sam (five) and Elliot (two): “When my second child was born I never thought the two boys would get along, but now the older one is so protective. My partner and I have encouraged this by giving Sam more responsibility and involving him in things like choosing clothes and stories for his brother. Now the little one’s become the sidekick in Sam’s superhero games!”

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Books we think your child will love… Our guide to some of the best stories available


Written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes Alfie, his mum and baby

the busy city. But at night when she’s all alone she looks up at the moon and wonders if there’s someone else out there. en she meets Brown Rabbit in the park, and he’s just the friend she has been wishing for. But how long before the bright lights call Little Rabbit back to the city? An unforgettable story with stunning illustrations.

sister arrive home aer shopping. While his mum struggles with the pushchair, Alfie rushes inside and slams the door. So now Alfie’s stuck inside and mum and baby are stuck outside without a key! Soon everyone in the street becomes involved in trying to rescue Alfie, but he’s got plans of his own...



Written and illustrated by Ross Collins What’s a small girl to do

Written and illustrated Natalie Russell Little Rabbit likes living in

when a mischievous, bothersome Elephantom just

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won’t leave her alone? Luckily, Granny has the perfect solution... Edgy illustrations make Ross Collins’ wry comic tale of a pesky ghost pet an instant hit! THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY

Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers Henry loves books so

much that he eats them! He loves to devour books of every shape and size – though red ones


Written by Elizabeth Baguley and illustrated by Gregoire Mabire

Digger and Tiger spend all their time in the Yard. no one else dares to come there – it’s their place. en one day someone arrives, wanting to play. Worse still, it’s a girl! But when Meggie builds a fantastic racing car and then an amazing pirate ship, they have to admit she does have some brilliant ideas...

are his favourite. e more books Henry eats, the smarter he gets – until one day it all starts to go a bit wrong. e humour of this book will appeal to children, especially little boys.


Written by Faustin Charles and illustrated by Michael Terry

A superb collection of traditional nursery rhymes with an animal twist. Accompanied by a fantastic audio CD narrating the poems with lots of amazing animal sounds, this will make a much-loved and muchlistened-to collection for younger readers.



Written by Ronda Armitage and illustrated by Holly Swain Pirate Jed

Written and illustrated by Thomas Docherty Little Boat is an

is seasick and doesn’t want to be a pirate any more. So he packs up his things and heads for dry land. On his adventure he encounters a cast of animals all needing his help. Together they meet Farmer Ted who is fed up with life on dry land, so he and Jed decide to swap! A gentle adventure about friendship, fun and finding your place in the world.

independent and determined vessel who sails bravely on, whatever dangers he may face. Docherty perfectly captures the emotions of a little traveller, with a great sense of movement and perspective, and a limited but highly effective colour palette. You really get the feel of the huge ocean in all its moods from this delightful story. ●

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Where to get your books As a parent you know that reading with your children can encourage a lifelong passion for books – but where can you find the right stories to read to them?


Most libraries have a children’s book section. ese days, libraries aren’t stuffy places where children must stay silent. ey’re warm and welcoming, with a big range of books to interest your child. Library staff can give lots of helpful advice about choosing children’s books – so don’t be afraid to ask them! Joining a library for free also means you can read lots of different books that won’t cost you anything. Most libraries don’t charge fines for children’s books and you can usually borrow more than enough books to last you until your next visit! So make the most of it – try out lots of different stories and themes with a whole range of characters and settings to see what your child enjoys most. If you use the internet, you can find your nearest library at e website gives information on opening hours and access for disabled visitors, alongside contact details and links to the library catalogue. As well as allowing you to borrow books for free, all of Scotland’s libraries offer free broadband internet access. NURSERIES

nurseries recognise the importance of reading and sharing books. Some have libraries for the children to borrow books from. is encourages your child to make their own choices about what to look at, and means they can learn early on about how libraries work. e nursery is also an ideal environment for your child to talk to their friends and teachers about stories they’ve read, or make the stories part of their play. CHARITY SHOPS

Top tips • Children’s libraries often have toys for children to play with • Don’t worry if your child is not interested in the books at first. Select a few books to look at yourself and they’ll soon want to get involved! • Or you could read a story and then act it out using the toys.

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Charity shops are a cheap source of books for children – and a good way of giving some money to charity. Although the books will be secondhand, most children care more about the colours, pictures, words and characters in a story than whether the book has been a bit chewed by another child!

These days, libraries aren’t stuffy places where children must stay silent. They’re warm and welcoming BOOKSHOPS

Most large bookshops, such as Waterstone’s and Blackwell’s, have extensive children’s book sections, oen with well-trained staff who can help you choose the right book for your child. e

Contact your local library For information on opening hours, locations or joining instructions for your local libraries, please call your local authority’s library headquarters telephone number, listed here, or visit

children’s section is usually arranged in age order to help you find your way around. ere are also a few specialised children’s bookshops around Scotland – if you have internet access, look online to find one near you. ●

Aberdeen 01224 652500 Aberdeenshire 01651 872707 Angus 01241 435103 Argyll and Bute 01369 703214 Clackmannanshire 01259 722262 Dumfries and Galloway 01387 253 820 Dundee 01382 431500 East Ayrshire 01563 554300 East Dunbartonshire 0141 775 4501 East Lothian 01620 828220 East Renfrewshire 0141 577 3500 Edinburgh 0131 242 8000 Highland 01463 235713 Falkirk 01324 506800 Fife 01592 583204 Glasgow 0141 287 2999

Inverclyde 01475 712323 Midlothian 0131 271 6668 Moray 01343 562600 North Ayrshire 01294 212 716 North Lanarkshire 01698 403 200 Orkney Islands 01856 873166 Perth and Kinross 01738 444949 Renfrewshire 0141 887 2723 Scottish Borders 01750 20842 Shetland Islands 01595 743868 South Ayrshire 01292 272247 South Lanarkshire 01698 454545 Stirling 01786 432383 West Dunbartonshire 01389 772137 West Lothian 01506 776336 Western Isles 01851 708631

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Bookbug’s Library B Challenge Five easy steps to starting Bookbug’s Library Challenge • Let your child join the library • Ask for your Bookbug’s Library Challenge collector card • Collect a stamp on your card at each visit to your local library • Exchange four stamps for a beautiful certificate • Get a new collector card and start again!

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OOKBUG’S Library Challenge is a free programme that encourages children aged birth to four to discover and enjoy their local library. It’s a fun, exciting way to give your child a love of reading for life. On their first visit to the library, children are issued with the Bookbug’s Library Challenge collector card. Every time you visit the library the collector card will be stamped, and your child can exchange four stamps for one of our beautifully illustrated Library Challenge certificates. Your child’s name will be written on the certificate to encourage them to feel proud that they have become a member of their local library. ere are five different limited-edition certificates to collect. So start collecting now – it’s never too early or too late to join your local library... and it’s FREE! ●

The Library Challenge certificates will help celebrate your child joining their local library

they couldn’t remember anything when I asked them earlier! It’s nice to feel we’re sharing something all together. ROSS, FATHER OF SAM (EIGHT), JAMIE (SEVEN), ROWAN (FOUR) AND OLLIE (TWO)


I like our bedtime-story routine – the children each choose one book (although sometimes they try to sneak in two!), and we cuddle up on the couch, one on each side and the little one on my knees. As I read the story, I

Parents' perspectives on sharing books with more than one child tend to point out some details on the picture or relate them to something we did recently, so that Coll feels included even though he might not follow everything. And sometimes the older two end up talking about stuff they did at school or nursery even though they said

Having four children, I find it’s beneficial for the older ones to read to their younger brothers and sisters. My seven and eightyear-old love the status this gives them in the family, of being considered capable and responsible. And it helps out Mum! It’s very good for their confidence and their development. I’ve noticed it encourages more expression in their reading voices. My four and two-year-old just love cosying up either with their mum or their big brothers, as at that age they just love stories! I think it helps strengthen the family bond. ●

Top tips for storytelling • Sit somewhere comfortable. Snuggle up with your child and make sure you are warm and cosy • Throw yourself into it. Relax, enjoy yourself and have fun • Read slowly. Put lots of expression into your voice and use gestures, funny faces and sound effects such as animal noises or a train tooting

• Get your child involved. Look at the pictures together, point to objects and characters and encourage them to guess what they are • Talk to your child about the book after you’ve finished reading it. They might enjoy using characters or ideas from the story in their own playing, drawing or conversation.

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Let’s have fun together! Making things and playing games doesn’t need to cost anything, especially if you have a little pirate to entertain!


AKInG THE time to talk to your child, play with them and get creative together is great for all aspects of their development, and will give them a head-start at school. Here are some suggestions to help you begin your journey of discovery...

Treasure Hunt

The idea Put pirate hats on and hunt for hidden treasure! The adventure Hide some items around your house, and ask your child to find them. You could even draw them a map to follow, or give them some clues to work out. The benefits Children this age love a challenge, and an afternoon spent indoors is the perfect time to create a mystery for your child to tackle.

Pirate Ship

th, at the te ship to sail in the ba The idea Make a pira g pool! park or in the paddlin rgarine llecting your empty ma The adventure Start co sail bs. Cut out triangular tu m ea -cr ice or ns rto ca small loured paper. Make a co or ite wh m fro es shap you can ttom of the sail so that hole at the top and bo to the is th to make a mast. Fix push through a straw d let an , th a lump of blue tack bottom of your tub wi the adventure begin! good ities can be particularly tiv ac t af Cr s fit ne be e Th e of lots of energy. This typ for children who have to learn ild ch e nce and helps th activity requires patie t of effort bi achieved with a little that great results are and time. ship a let your child give their to et rg fo t n’ Do tip p To the tub. ink along the side of name, and write it in

24 Bookbug

s Ship-Shaped Lime and Coconut Cookie The idea Cookies in the shape of ships The adventure INGREDIENTS:

I-spy with my Pirate Eye

The idea Make a telescope tog ether The adventure Cardboard tub es from kitchen roll or tin foil make ins tant telescopes for pirates – get cre ative with glitter and glue and go for a trip to the beach to see if you can spy an y ships or sea-monsters on the horizon!

The benefi ts your child Creating the telesc ’s creativit ope boosts ya chance to practise th nd gives them a eir co-ord skills. At th inati is than prete age they love noth on ing nd creating p play and make-be better rops to he lieve, so lp pirate pla y will be th them in their e cause of much excit ement!

2 egg whites 100g caster sugar 160g desiccated coconut 1 tsp grated lime zest 1 tbsp lime juice 180ºC/Gas 4. Use your METHOD: Preheat the oven to r, coconut, lime zest suga es, hands to mush the egg whit together. tly and juice in a bowl until they ligh come square a With wet hands, press the mixture into flat, shape about 1cm high. Have a Use an upturned cup to cut out small rounds. a lightly go at shaping these into boats, and place on oiled or non-stick baking tray. oven until Bake for 12-15 minutes in the centre of the very lightly golden. Cool the cookies on a wire rack, and enjoy! with The benefits Children love being involved all sorts of ide prov can preparing food – it is fun, and ctions, dire wing learning opportunities, such as follo an even hand-eye co-ordination, good hygiene, and early introduction to maths!

Top Tip Turn this experience into an exciting adventure for your child, by reading the recipe together, making your list for the grocery store, travelling to the shops, finding the ingredients on the shelves, and then finally making the food together.

rf uide is avail ts. Fo urther able i is g a h m n other for T o m a r t i o o f n tishb , ema in il info@scot

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LANGUAGE & RHYME HOW CHILDREN LEARN ABOUT LANGUAGE ere is strong evidence that young children absorb more than one language quickly if they hear enough of each language. But there are other important factors in the way they learn. For example, children who are learning a new language go through a phase where they understand what’s being said around them but say very little. So be patient – these children may simply need time to listen and build up the new language they are learning in their brain. MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION

ere are a lot of wrong ideas about bilingualism. Many people are still convinced that having two languages is somehow a ‘burden’. But we know from research that this is completely untrue. e infant brain can accommodate even three languages, and babies can distinguish their languages at the age of just four months. Bilingual children are very good at separating languages and there is no evidence that they are confused between one language and another. ere are different ways of balancing the two languages – for example, children speaking their native language at home and English at nursery. e most important thing is to expose the child to both languages in situations where they feel motivated to use them. is could be by sharing books with their parents, or listening to songs and stories in another language. Libraries oen have bilingual books for everyone to borrow! AN EXTRA RESOURCE Parents

who come to Scotland from

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For many young children in Scotland, English is not their native language – but as Professor Antonella Sorace explains, being bilingual should be seen as a benefit, not a burden

Word power

abroad can feel that their language is an obstacle to living here. Many believe they have to speak English at home. In fact, that’s wrong – maintaining their native language is an advantage. Having two languages has many mental benefits for children: research has found that it helps them deal with complexity and develop their concentration. Children who are learning an additional language should be viewed as having an extra resource, rather than a problem!


Interaction between bilingual and monolingual children [who speak one language] is beneficial for both groups. It opens up their

minds and makes them more accepting of others. Bilingual children have an advantage because their understanding of another language makes them aware at an early age that other children can have a different point of view. at’s something all children have to learn eventually! BENEFITS OF RHYMING Some parents find that rhyming and singing can help children pick up a new language. is may be to do with the fact that a child exposed to two languages is more aware of the sounds and structure of language, and listening to rhymes allows them to use this sensitivity and skill in an enjoyable way. Many nurseries introduce children to foreign languages. Using rhymes can be a very good basis for doing this. ●

Professor Antonella Sorace is director of Bilingualism Matters, a service that gives advice and information for bilingual families, based on current language research. For more information visit

Talkingyour language Matthew Fitt discusses the value of learning about Scots rhyme from the earliest age

language. It’s usually the nursery that values Scots rhymes but sometimes the parents feel that their children shouldn’t learn these rhymes in school. ey can be very concerned that the child will learn Scots ‘slang’ instead of English! ere’s a prevailing anxiety about language, and that’s a shame.

know them. We need to hold on to that shared experience Scotland has had for generations. ese rhymes are important – they’re part of Scottish folklore. ere’s a massive demand from nurseries for books with Scots rhyme and a real sense of how much young children and parents love it.







RHYME? It enhances children’s




TOGETHER? e key


thing is to have fun with the language! ere’s a lot to be gained from enjoying these wonderful simple rhymes and stories. It’s all literature, it scans and it’s lyrical. It can be enjoyed with the most important people in any child’s life – Mum and Dad. By reading and reciting these rhymes we’re also sharing them within a wider community; most people in Scotland

awareness of language – both Scots and other languages – and contributes to improving their communication skills. ey can use both Scots and English; it doesn’t have to be one or the other! It helps them find out about their country and other cultures. ere are so many people out there who see how children’s learning experiences have been improved by using Scots. It’s a national asset and we should safeguard it. ●


pre-school stage is crucial because it sets in stone the child’s attitudes to language. Oen children are developing their language confidence and their first steps in language are entirely in Scots. But in many cases when they go to school that stops and Scots is no longer used. It’s much harder to change that at primary school, particularly for boys. e new Curriculum for Excellence makes clear statements about celebrating the Scots

My experience… Ania, mother of Patryk (18 months) “My partner and I are from Poland but our son Patryk was born in Scotland, and we’d like him to be bilingual. Since he was born, books and music have become very important to us. I love singing rhymes to him; it’s great fun. I can see he loves listening to me singing and watching me making faces – I think it helps him have a better understanding of words and he is even starting to copy the ‘moves’! I noticed that Patryk prefers

Polish rhymes when at home with me, but enjoys rhymes in English at our weekly meetings at the library. Most of the time I sing the rhymes I used to sing or loved myself as a child – it brings back good memories. We also listen to lots of great nursery songs or lullabies on CDs that I buy in Poland. And with the internet, I can quickly and easily find new rhymes and songs for us to learn together. For me, rhymes are the most amusing ways to make kids read, write and have fun. It’s time well spent!”

Matthew Fitt is the director of Itchy Coo, which has published 35 new titles in Scots since launching in 2002. Alongside outreach education work in schools to promote Scots language, Itchy Coo created the ‘Katie’ books, a series of stories in Scots rhyme

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Make time for a rhyme Using music and song helps your child develop their language skills – and it’s a great way for you to communicate too


aBIES aNd young children love music and hearing you sing. From around 24 weeks in the womb babies can respond to sounds and work out what kind of music they like. ey may kick or move about in time to their favourite songs. Some like chart music, others classical or the sound of pipes and drums! When babies are born, adults talk to them using a

lilting ‘sing song’ voice called ‘parentese’. Research has shown that babies learn best from this kind of talking. Babies and toddlers enjoy the regular beat of the words, the rhythm and the melody. THERE ARE MANY BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN WHO ENJOY MUSIC AND SINGING REGULARLY

• ey learn language more easily • Reading and spelling are easier to learn when they reach school • It encourages their creativity • ey feel more confident and positive • It helps them to learn about numbers • It encourages them to be more sociable with other children. GETTING THE BEST FROM SINGING

• Go for it! Your child will think you are the best! • If you can’t remember the words, make them up • Get face to face with your child and make eye contact • Pause, wait and give your child time to take a turn • Use lots of actions and gestures • Notice which songs your child likes best and repeat them many times. Children love repetition – and it helps them learn • Choose songs to suit the situation. Sing lively action songs when your child is energetic and relaxing lullabies at bedtime • Make up songs for everyday routines like getting dressed, brushing teeth or going out shopping. • Enjoy being together! ● By Sarah Duncan, Rhona Cruickshank and Gretel McEwen, speech and language therapists, NHS Grampian

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Babies and toddlers enjoy the regular beat of the words, the rhythm and the melody

Bookbug Sessions Our Bookbug Sessions aim to boost children’s language development – and give parents a chance to meet other mums and dads


OOKBUG SESSIOnS are fun, friendly and free events for babies, toddlers and their families to enjoy together. e sessions, which include songs, stories and rhymes, are a great opportunity to spend some relaxed, quality time with your little one. e sessions, available throughout Scotland, are generally held in libraries or

other community venues. Coming to the sessions is an excellent way of meeting other parents and children in your local area. ey offer your child lots of benefits, helping to build up their confidence and social skills, and giving their speech and language development a real boost! For more information or to find out where your nearest Bookbug Session is taking place, please visit bookbug or ask at your local library. We look forward to seeing you there! ●

“When I first came to these sessions I was suffering from postnatal depression and they helped me enormously” “My daughter and I love the sessions and she sings the songs all week long! It’s really beneficial for her and has helped her speech” “I wish we had discovered Bookbug Sessions with my first daughter – it’s great and we love it!” “Bookbug Sessions are a fantastic resource and great company for mums as well”

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Pirate rhymes It’s a pirate’s life for me! (Sung to the tune of The farmer’s in his Den) It’s a pirate’s life for me A pirate’s life for me Aye, Aye Captain It’s a pirate’s life for me (Other verses) I’ll wear my pirate hat I’ll sail across the seas I’ll dig for buried treasure

Row, row, row your boat Row, row, row your boat gently down the river If you see a polar bear don’t forget to shiver Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream If you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream Row, row, row your boat gently in a puddle If you see a nice Bookbug, don’t forget to cuddle

A pirate went to sea A pirate went to sea sea sea To see what he could see see see But all that he could see see see Was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea

Three craws Three craws sat upon a waw Sat upon a wa’, sat upon a waw Three craws sat upon a waw On a cauld and frosty mornin ‘

(HumptyDumpty) Cruinnean beag reamhar, ‘na shuidh air a’ bhalla Thuit e ‘na sgailleagan ‘s chaidh e ‘na chlaraibh Chaidh eich agus marcaich an righ ann an cabhaig Ach dh’fhailich orr cruinnean beag reamhar a’ charadh


Cruinnean beag reamhar

Bookbug Pirate - Parents Guide  
Bookbug Pirate - Parents Guide  

Scottish Book Trust's guide to sharing books with your child. Includes exclusive interviews with Lorraine Kelly and Kenny Logan.