The reading bug – a rare species?

Reading bug Bookworm Read Books Library Wellbeing Self Care

 The reading bug has well and truly bitten round here lately

I say ‘lately’ but it’s now May and I started reading again in January.  I was striving for some me-time, for some screen-free time (though I’m still toying with an e-reader of some form!) and to read something that’s, frankly, not blog-related!
Reading bug Bookworm Read Books Library Wellbeing Self Care

Yes, the reading bug has been a rare species around here.

I found a way to get back into reading when I stumbled upon Bookish Mamas (a reading group on facebook), got stuck into the first read and I was off!  I started reading that first book part way through January which gave me 2 weeks to finish it before the live discussion.  On average, I had to read 25 pages a day to be finished for the discussions.  And I did it! 🙂  I find that giving myself the goal of reading 25 pages a day works really well and spurs me on.  It’s manageable and I also feel like I’ve achieved something!
My book challenge is to read 12 books in 2018, so a book a month.  I’m smashing it and I’m loving it and actually addicted.  I’m something of a bookworm again.  The inconvenience of mundane, every day life can get in the way but I’ve managed to find time for my books.  I’ve only had to abandon one book because I wasn’t feeling it.

The library – an endangered species?

My current read, “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah is a library book.  We live in a small (but developing) town and I wasn’t sure if I’d have to pay to reserve a coy.  I didn’t, so I utilised my local library and am now whizzing through it!  I used to love taking our now 8yo to our library and love that I’m supporting our local again.  I love to do this because I feel like
Our 8yo is seeing me read every day/night and she does the same.  She’s got the reading bug too and what a great hobby to have!  We’ve just had the most glorious Bank Holiday weekend in the UK and I’ve taken a dive right into my reading.
When I was growing up, it was rare for my Mum not to have a book on the go.  In fact, I’d like to bet that there was never a time when she didn’t.
It’s such a great hobby to have.  There are so many genres out there; fact or fiction, long or short, different formats.  However or wherever you choose to read, whatever genre or format, it doesn’t matter!  In our fast-paced digital world, with so much online, isn’t it lovely to have a chance to slow down, even to stop, to breathe and to escape.

Let’s get reading!

Have you got the reading bug?  Did someone close to you read a lot when you were younger?  Do you like to read in front of your children to encourage reading?   I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.
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5 ways to get back into reading

5 ways to get back into Reading Wellbeing Read Books

5 ways to get back into reading

 I’ve always loved reading.  I can remember sitting on a bean bag in my bedroom one Sunday afternoon aged around 8, reading The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton.  I was totally absorbed in this magical story, my imagination working with the words that Blyton weaved, meeting all the magical tree folk.
As I grew up, I remember reading the box sets of St Clares and Mallory Towers.  Then there was Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High.  There came a time when I started to read some of the books that my Mum read (and still reads today) but I found the genre (war-time sweethearts tales and the like) too predictable.  They were probably the latter day version of what is today referred to as ‘chick-lit’ (which I’m not drawn to either!)
At A-Level English, I loved studying the themes of a play, poem or story and picking it all to bits.

Being inspired by reading to a child  

Then I had our now 8 year old and of course, I read children’s stories instead.  But this intrigued me too.  How the use of rhyme and rhythmn completely entranced her (and me), how she would ask for the same stories over and over and over again!
I was inspired to write my own children’s series which is still waiting in the wings for a publisher.
As I was saying, due to the time restraints of having a growing baby, working and keeping a home (and blog!) ticking over, reading just never happened for a good few years.

When it all changed

That has all changed this year though.  I stumbled upon a post on instagram from Lucy of Mrs Hs Favourite Things.  She was holding a book which was a read in the Bookish Mamas facebook reading group.  With just a couple of clicks on my phone, I was back in the swing of reading again.  And I love it!  I even like the fact that I’ve given up on the latest group read because when I really don’t like a book, I don’t see the point in going through the pain!  But I love that it’s opening up new genres to me.  Books that I wouldn’t even have considered, I have read since January.  I’ve got back into my GoodReads account, have a long list waiting to be read and bought a delicious new book last week – The Mitford Murders.  Don’t you love the feel of a crisp new book?
And I’m even ahead in my reading challenge!
5 ways to get back into Reading Wellbeing Read Books

So if like me, you’ve let reading slack because of ‘life’, here are 5 ways to get back into reading

Join a reading group  – Bookish Mamas on facebook is a great place to start.  It’s useful to find one that does discussion threads on the books too, which helps to make sense of a book you didn’t get and also gets you involved if you did like it!
If you don’t enjoy a particular book, accept it, give it up and browse some more titles.  This happened to me just this month.  I was trying hard (too hard?), to get into the group read and ended up getting too distracted by all the things I could have been doing instead.  Not exactly condusive to a relaxing read so I gave up and started a shorter book which means that I’ll hopefully be finished in time for the next read!
Take part in a reading challenge.  I’m sure you can do this on your own or as part of a reading group challenge.  But I’m doing it through my GoodReads account.  I love that it’s a little community and that my reading list is ever growing due to the numberous recommendations that pop up every time I go on!  But that’s spurring me on to read even more 🙂
Set aside time for reading every. single. day.  Because that’s how habits are formed.  For me, as part of my screen-free commitment, having something to do apart from those little jobs around the house for half an hour before bed, means I get my reading time in.  Tricky if you’re got a very good book though!
Try different genres.  There are 2 sides to this.  The book that I abandoned was a memoir and not a genre that I’ll rush to again but now I know!  And I gave it a go!  And that’s what I love about getting into reading again as part of a group.
If you’re on GoodReads and would like to be my friend on there, I’m Carol Cameleon 🙂   It might be an idea to add a comment below so that I know who you are!
Do you enjoy reading?  Did you have a lapse and how did you get back into it?  Got any recommendations?   I’d love to know!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.
 This post contains affiliate links.

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Diary of a bookworm

Diary Of A Bookworm Reading Relax

Diary of a bookworm

 

I came across this fun post from Jo Tracey and thought I’d join in.  I absolutely love getting absorbed in a book, sometimes ‘lost’ in a book and I do my utmost to read a bit of my current book every day.  I’ve recently rekindled this habit and I love it!

Diary Of A Bookworm Reading Relax

So here we go:

 Do you have a specific place for reading?

I’ll read anywhere comfortable but on an evening, preferably a weekend, cosied-up with a drink on the sofa, footstool out. 🙂

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

A bookmark our 8 year old made for me.  (I’m not a 2 book person so this works fine.)

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

Quite often.  Depending on the mood (and book) or season, it’s either herbal tea, hot choc and snacks and/or chocolate!

Music or TV whilst reading?

Rarely the TV because it’s too distracting.  Maybe some light music low in the background.

One book at a time or several?

Definitely one!

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I can read anywhere but tend to vere to people-watching if I’m in a public place which obviously isn’t ideal for hardcore reading!

Read out loud or silently?

Silently.  But I still read to our 8 yo and it’s strangely nice to hear the pronunciation of the words and brings it more to life!

Break the spine or keep it like new?

Break it in, enjoy it, savour it!

Do you write in books?

Nope!

What books are you reading now?

‘How to Stop Time’ by Matt Haig.  And loving it!

What is your all-time favourite book?

I might’ve known this question was coming up and I can never answer it…  though I’ve just finished ‘The Secret of Nightingale Wood’ which was February’s read in the Bookish Mamas facebook group.  I read it very quickly, which is rare for me and I loved the theme for various reasons.
I also love Pride and Prejudice.

Give up or read on if you don’t enjoy the book?

I’ve been known to give up.  In fact I decided to read, instead of watch, Game of Thrones.  The first one was okay but I gave up on the second one after a break and I couldn’t get into it at all.

Would you lend your books?

Totally!
How about you?  Are you a book worm?  If you are, why not join in?  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.

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Time for a dose of happiness in #HighlightsofHappy blog linky #79 ~ because life’s for the good stuff

It's time for a dose of Happiness in #HighlightsofHappy 79 Blog Linky because Life's for the Good Stuff Belly Laughs Reading Books Play Dance

Your weekly dose of happiness… 

Welcome back to my regular readers and for those who are joining for the first time or just browsing, let’s have a little reminder of what #HighlightsofHappy is all about…

It’s a common phrase isn’t it?…

“Bad things come in 3’s”

or words similar to that!

So, let’s flip it because everyone deserves a little happiness … (you know how I love to spread happiness and turn a negative into a positive with positive thinking !)

Let’s spread that happiness and find 3 things to be grateful for (or even more… well, why not?!)

It's time for a dose of Happiness in #HighlightsofHappy 79 Blog Linky because Life's for the Good Stuff Belly Laughs Reading Books Play Dance

In my weekly feature, I look back over my gratitude journal because that’s the great thing about gratitude and using my gratitude journal – it gives me the opportunity to look back and be grateful all over again 🙂  And that’s what I do here, in my weekly feature, I look back on my #HighlightsofHappy.

I round it off with one word that sums up my happy…  why not do the same?

If you’re a blogger, why not share your happy post from the last week or so in the linky below?

If you’re on instagram, why not tag your happy snap #HighlightsofHappy and link up your pic in the linky below?

If you’re on twitter, why not tweet your happy with #HighlightsofHappy ?

If you’re all 3, why not do all 3??  The linky is below. (To link your insta happy snap, simply click on your insta pic, copy the url and paste into the linky tool!)

(If you join in with my #HighlightsofHappy community on instagram, I post up my favourite snaps every Friday on instagram.)


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<a href=”https://virtuallyallsorts.com/all-sorts-of-blogging/highlightsofhappy-linky-lifes-good-stuff/” title=”#HighlightsofHappy”> <img src=”https://virtuallyallsorts.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/highlightsofhappy-virtuallyallsorts-blog-linky-positive-thinking-gratitude-focus-happy-happiness-highlights-of-happy-wellbeing-300×300.jpg” width=”125″ height=”125″ alt=”My Button” style=”border:none;” /></a>

…so what’s been making ME happy?

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Time for a dose of happiness in #HighlightsofHappy blog linky #42 ~ because life’s for the good stuff

It's Time For A Dose Of Happiness In #HighlightsofHappy 42 Blog Linky Because Life's For The Good Stuff Reading Books

Your weekly dose of happiness…

Let’s spread the happiness!

It’s a common phrase isn’t it?…

“Bad things come in 3’s”

or words similar to that!

So, let’s flip it because everyone deserves a little happiness … (you know how I love to spread happiness and turn a negative into a positive with positive thinking !)

Let’s spread that happiness and find 3 things to be grateful for (or even more… well, why not?!)

It's Time For A Dose Of Happiness In #HighlightsofHappy 42 Blog Linky Because Life's For The Good Stuff Reading Books

In my weekly feature, I look back over my gratitude journal because that’s the great thing about gratitude and using my gratitude journal – it gives me the opportunity to look back and be grateful all over again 🙂  And that’s what I do here, in my weekly feature, I look back and on my #HighlightsofHappy.

I round it off with one word that sums up my happy…  why not do the same?

If you’re a blogger, why not share your happy post from the last week or so in the linky below?

If you’re on instagram, why not tag your happy snap #HighlightsofHappy and link up your pic in the linky below?

If you’re on twitter, why not tweet your happy with #HighlightsofHappy ?

If you’re all 3, why not do all 3??  The linky is below. (To link your insta happy snap, simply click on your insta pic, copy the url and paste into the linky tool!)

(If you join in with my #HighlightsofHappy community on instagram, I post up my favourite snaps every Monday on instagram.)


…so what’s been making ME happy?

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#PaperyPeep ~ mini libraries, colouring tables and a little collage

papery-peep-pin-table-collection-drawing-colouring-paper-and-pens-imagination-activity-boredom-buster
It’s been a while since I joined in with Papery Peep so here’s a collection in pictures (mainly).
I’m starting off with the main blog pic; our daughter left this little lot on the table just as you see it here.  A perfect photo opportunity!  I love the cat, don’t you? 🙂
papery-peep-table-collection-drawing-colouring-paper-and-pens-imagination-activity-boredom-buster
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 I’ve shared a few pictures on instagram lately of our girl’s reading matter…
It’s a daily occurence for her to come downstairs to breakfast with a book under her arm or in her hand.  In between mouthfuls and general chat, she always reads a book.  I can’t remember when this first happened but we’ve never discouraged her from bringing a book to the table.  Sometimes our days are so busy in the week that the ‘only’ reading she does (apart from at school, which I don’t get to savour!) is at breakfast and bedtime.
alternative-book-shelf-papery-peep-current-reads-literacy-free-reading-imagination
I truly hope she never loses her love of reading.  Strange really – I embrace that she can read to herself but a part of me misses sitting down every day like we used to and me reading to her.  I think that stage is withering out now…  But strange because I embrace with pride this newest phase of her reading journey 🙂
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On to the pic below and who in the UK remembers the Griffin savers dictionary?  The you got free when you opened a Midland Bank young savers account?! (Showing my age!!)  Our daughter has claimed mine, which I don’t mind at all.
You can just about see the cat diaries top and bottom in the end column there.  Chosen by our daughter, of course (had to be cats!)  The ‘best mummy ever!’ card totally melted my heart and is on the wall next to my desk.  The final picture is of the Message in a Bottle postcards.  I’ve been involved in the launch of this book for children and it’s coming to end now…
papery-peep-griffin-savers-dictionary-best-mummy-ever-card-colouring-in-message-in-a-bottle-postcards-launch-diaries-cats-planning-planners
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Finally, it’s been while since Stephanie from Lifeat139a very kindly sent me this book as a random act of kindness.  And it’s been a good few months since I finished it.
 
Our little girl was at a birthday party, hubby was at work that same afternoon and I took myself into the garden to read ‘Missing, Presumed’ by Susie Steiner.  I chilled out and got stuck in.
This was definitely one of those books that I found very hard to put down due to its readability.  Each chapter effortlessly flowed into the next, with questions being raised and left unanswered from the beginning.
I didn’t make any notes when I finished this (which is what I would normally do when reviewing a book) and because it’s a while since I read it, I’m not going to attempt a ‘review’.  Suffice to say that I felt a little lost when I’d finished it (you know it’s a good one when that happens) and there was satisfaction at reading it quite quickly – around 3 weeks.  (Unlike Jocelyn at The Reading Residence who seems to get through one in 3 days!)
Aside from wanting to thank my virtual friend for kindly posting it out to me, I genuinely feel it deserves a good mention.
Pop it on your reading list!

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Have you been writing, reading or even colouring recently?  Do you remember that dictionary?!  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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This post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy something from clicking on a link from my blog, I get to receive some happiness too… at no extra cost to you 🙂 Thanks..

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The Library Archives and a Love of Books

Our little girl has a love of books and was really excited to browse the books at her school’s week of hosting the travelling book fair.  She had been promised a new book from us and after a quick perusal of the shelves, made a bee-line for What the Ladybird Heard Next
by Julia Donaldson.

The library archives and world book day reading literacy history books 2

This surprised me a little because she tends to be much more into chapter books than picture books these days.  She even got a new book storage cushion for Christmas!

It must be the very clever rhymes and therefore the rhythm of Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len’s misdemeanours!..

We’ve just recently moved house and joined the local library.  With our little girl enjoying reading so much, we were keen to get registered as soon as possible.

The ‘switch over’ from our old library got me to looking at the history of our old library accounts.  You might call them ‘the archives’.

The library archives and world book day reading literacy history books 1

You can just about barely (!) see in our little girl’s account that she has borrowed 289 books since she joined as a baby.  And that’s not including the books she’s got a home, some of which she has read over and over and over again!

Thankfully, the world of books is still at her fingertips and she loves to go along with us and using the machine to take out and return books.

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Do you visit your local library very often?  What does your child like best about it?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below 🙂 

*This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you happen to purchase something from the link you click, I get to have a little happiness too! 🙂 

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A novel book storage idea

When our little girl unwrapped a cushion from her Grandma and Pop for Christmas, she was really excited… and so was I!

Book cushion a novel book storage idea reading nook library organisation

Having been to a Christmas Fayre, my lovely Mum saw these brilliant cushions that double up as a novel book storage idea!

When our little girl saw that her cousin had a similar cushion, she was even more excited.

When she unwrapped 5 new Rainbow Magic books, she slotted a couple into the little pockets on her new cushion.

What a neat idea!

The cushion now flits between her reading nook and her bed, as do the cats most days.  I’m convinced that the cats enjoy a read when she’s not there!  She’s even been known to take it in the car with her over the Christmas break!

Our little girl chose to spend some of her Christmas money on a Rainbow Magic bookmark, which arrived just after Christmas.

What I love is that our little girl is being so very patient (mostly) because she’s pre-ordered another Rainbow Magic book for delivery in March…

Whereas I… well I haven’t got a lovely book cushion but I have managed to explore our new (to us) library and brought a couple of books home 🙂

To be perfectly honest, I was really disappointed with ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ by Jennifer Worth.  Having devoured a couple of her other books, I had high hopes for this one but just couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters which seemed more like character studies than the interesting insight into history that I was expecting.

So I tried a different genre, recommended by Maddy at Writing Bubble.  This one is by Liane Moriarty ‘Big Little Lies’ and I am enjoying it.  It’s hard to put down and I’ll hopefully report back in a few weeks 🙂

 

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Books for children – developing speech and language

books for children to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years main abc pic final edit

I make no secret of my passionate belief that reading books to your children every day helps to develop their speech and language skills.  Right from when Our Little Bear was only just home from hospital as a newborn, I would read her cloth books while she happily kicked and gurgled under her play gym and at feeding time, in fact any time really.  Then she moved on to board books and took her abc’s and her 123’s in her stride.

Fast forward to 5 years later and there is no denying that all of this has stood her in very good stead with her literacy.  While in her first year at school, she has learnt her phonics, learnt to read and write and just recently her teacher told us that she is doing ‘fantastic’ with her spelling.  All of this reading to her and with her in the foundations of her early years can surely be no coincidence…

So, which books are recommended to develop your child’s speech and language skills?  Kimberly’s blogpost at MommyEdition talks us through a comprehensive list of books to do just that.

From read-aloud, nursery rhyme and picture books like ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ by Robert Louis Stevenson…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years 1

and books for the late talker like ‘The Einstein Syndrome’ by Thomas Sowell…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years einstein syndrome thomas sowell 1

 

to books about animals and classic stories like ‘Sammy: The Classroom Guinea Pig’ by Alix Berenzy…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years sammy classroom guinea pig alix berenzy 1

 

Do pop over to Kimberly’s post at MommyEdition for more information on the above books and follow MommyEdition on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest

…and let’s not forget the role that letter blocks and flash cards play like ‘Read with Biff, Chip & Kipper: Fun with Words’…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years biff chip kipper flashcards 1

Indeed, we used flashcards when our little bear first started her reading and it helped immensely.  It also helped that we had picked up the flashcards through hubby’s work book club that happened to be the same series that our bear’s class was using – the Biff, Chip and Kipper series from Oxford Reading Tree.  By turning it into a game, our bear had no idea that she was learning!

Of course, along with reading books to and with your child, talking to your child is a great stepping stone to great vocab, literacy and speech.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all words and opinions are my own.

So tell me, which books did you or do you enjoy reading with your child?  Were/are any of them the same ones that you read as a child?

Share in the comments below the link badges!

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Blue Planet Tales interactive stories app for children ~ giveaway

Hello and welcome to an interactive giveaway!  Yes, you can win 1 of 20 promo codes to use at Blue Planet Tales app store on ‘The Secret of the Pyramid’.  How exciting is that?!

So, who are Blue Planet Tales? Well, they’ve created an educational app for tablets with stories based in history and real life events for 3-9 year olds. With 17 stories to choose from, including ‘The Secret of the Pyramid’, it may be difficult to choose just 1!  But with the affordable prices, your choice is that much easier.

The range includes the following titles and as you can see, there is something there for children of all ages:

-The Extinction of the Dinosaurs

-The Boy Who Wanted to be a King (about the footballer Leo Messi’s life)

-The Secret of the Pyramid

-Davy Crockett

-The Bird Migration

-Laika the Little Astronaut Dog

-The Race to the South Pole

-The Discovery of America

With ‘The Secret of the Pyramid’ I found that I learnt a thing or 2, along with Our Little Bear.

giveaway Blue Planet Tales interactive stories for children education learning app history parenting The secret of the Pyramids 6There are 3 options for the re-telling of the story: The ‘read it to me’ and ‘autoplay’ options moved at just the right pace for our bear, with the accompanying simple illustrations helping to bring the story to life.

giveaway Blue Planet Tales interactive stories for children education learning app history parenting The secret of the Pyramids 3

 

The interactive questions peppered throughout the story were a little difficult for our bear at 5 years old and she needed prompting (and it tested my grey matter!) but she still engaged with the stories.  The score-keeper on the home-page is a nice touch and is good for ‘keeping tabs’ on your progress.

Another good feature is the ‘category’ drop down menu on the homepage, enabling you to browse stories by genre.

giveaway Blue Planet Tales interactive stories for children education learning app history parenting The secret of the Pyramids 7

I can see this interactive library being an app that we dip in and out of with our little bear on rainy days.  It’s a great little tool to explore topics that we wouldn’t perhaps have considered without the app.

You can find Blue Planet Tales at: Twitter, Facebook, Google +, You Tube and also take a lot at their website
Go and say hello! 🙂
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Now, onto how you can win 1 of 20 promo vouchers for The Secret of the Pyramid!  Just enter by using the rafflecopter (below).  The giveaway is open to UK entrants only and ends at 12am on 23rd June 2015. Good luck to you 😉

Disclaimer: I received these promotional codes to give away on my blog but all opinions are my own.

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