When I was little I never stopped reading. We went through two long periods of not having a TV due to us living I suppose a poverty stricken lifestyle back as children....but it was great as we read loads, were really creative - drew, made things, we were full of idea's. When we did get given second hand TV's (two broke) from the neighbours we were still capable of being creative but I do think it was good for us not having one for a while and then when we had it was a huge novelty.
Luckily I had access to all the Enid Blyton books my elder sister had and my mother also took us to the library often. I remember getting obsessed with a book series called Saddle Club. Along side Enid Blyton I particularly remember the Goosebumps series but there were so many more magical ones.
Reading takes you away from your real life and (if a good book) you are absorbed into the story taken into a magical land or the life/world of someone or something else.
I can't imagine life without it and i am one of those that loves to read an actual book, the feel of it, the smell, the art work on the front, turning the pages. Any access to books is great but you can't beat a good old book.
I know there are a lot of people that have barely read in their life or don't like it (although I'm sure if they gave it another chance a read a good book they would) and then often don't bother reading to their children or getting books for them.
An article from the Huffington Post in 2012 mentioned a report by the National Literacy Trust that stated 3.8 million children in the UK did not own a book.
I think that's a travesty. Yes I know there's much worse things in the world. Despite the obvious help it gives with development of speech and language I think it's so sad to deny a child the joy of a storybook. Even when they can't read they can look at the pictures and as my little girl does either makes up her own story when looking at the pages with a flash light after I've put her to bed or they remember the story and can read it that way. It helps them develop their imagination in a way nothing else can.
Story time is one of my favourite times of day. I love to relax at the very end of the day next to G in her pyjamas all snuggled up in bed or sat in her room with her sat on my knee and read the books that one of us has picked out of her bookcase. We used to read up to five books a night, though as she is getting older the books have got longer so it's usually two or three.
We also would sing several nursery rhymes or children's songs after that, every night without fail. G was a fast developer with language and I have no doubt that all this helped. It is really not too much effort to read just one story or sing just one rhyme each night. I managed it as a single parent with a debilitating exhausting disease.
I am lucky despite our circumstances that we have relatives that have got her books. My mum brings her some she's found in charity shops. I have brought several second hand from a selling page on facebook. I sell (well if they haven't been chewed or ripped from baby years of course!) the book's she has grown out of to help with budgeting and then the book gets passed a long for another child to enjoy.
She's been given book's for birthdays and Christmas, got a couple free from either playgroup or nursery as a Christmas present or from the Health visitor or sure start center on World Book day. I also use Amazon if it's a specific book we are looking for as they often do a much cheaper price than in the shops.
One shop I love for books is The Works. They have loads of wonderful children's picture books, many for only £1.99 or 4 for £5. Or buy one get one free - so £1 each. They also cater for older children and adults too. You can now sign up for a points card and they currently have a competition to win Mary Berry's new book and a Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer on their website.
I recently discovered some Enid Blyton titles in there. The faraway tree Collection (3 stories in 1 book) and The Wishing Chair Collection (again 3 stories in 1 book). I have put them away for when she has learnt to read. They are magical stories and I want her to get to experience them too. The Works also had the early years of Malory towers 3 in 1 last time I looked so when I have the spare pennies I'll get that to put away for her too.
So there are plenty of cheaper options but of course you don't have to buy any books for your child to be able to read. There's the library anyone can sign up to and access. G has plenty of books at the moment, all we have read many a time and will still continue to do but the library is a great place to go and try out some new ones and a different environment for her to be in which she enjoys.
Do you have a favourite book you read with your child? I will soon be starting a post about which book we have most enjoyed reading each week.