The Ladybird team were busy bugs this half term with Ladybird Live, a national celebration of reading for the under fives. Hundreds of storytelling events took place around the country and a lot of fun was had. Plus, on launch day we had experts on hand to help with parents' concerns and questions on reading and we thought we would share some of the feedback with you.
The Ladybird Live tour launched at the Clapham Picturehouse cinema and was a huge success. Celebs were reading Ladybird fairy tales on screen with performance poet Murray Lachlan Young providing live entertainment with chanting, dancing and an enormous conga line that wrapped itself around the entire cinema! Lots of young visitors came dressed as Ladybirds and the winner of the best costume was clearly delighted with her prize!
Throughout the day our followers on Facebook and Twitter kept in touch letting us know how they were celebrating Ladybird Live where they were – baking Ladybird cakes that had black spots, reading their favourite Ladybird books whilst curled up at home or dressed up like ladybirds. Bless!
We were particularly delighted with the fantastic response to our advice line and webchat. We understand that the subject of reading can be a concern for parents, so as part of our celebration of reading we wanted to give parents the chance to chat to our reading experts about any questions or concerns they had.
Ladybird experts Justine and Geraldine arrived at Ladybird HQ at the crack of dawn and were straight onto the phones and email, answering questions from parents and grandparents on all aspects of reading with their children. At lunchtime we had a fantastic webchat with the parenting site Gurgle.com and parents queued up to ask questions. Geraldine said it was "electric, with lovely questions about reading coming thick and fast". Lots of advice and reassurance was passed on and it was one of the busiest web chats that Gurgle have seen to date with "definitely the best-ever feedback from mums" according to the Gurgle editor.
Geraldine said, "Speaking to parents on the Ladybird Live day was great and we had some really interesting questions – folk who don't like reading themselves, and what's the best thing to do; what's the point of reading to babies who can't understand yet; how to progress from stories to actual reading; how to help with letters and sounds. One mum wondered how to manage her reading sessions so that they appeal to two young children of different ages and I was in my stride talking about sound effects and things the two children can do together, with the older one in charge!"
Listening into the webchat, Ladybird editor Ellen observed, "I think one of the key points made by Geraldine and Justine is that sometimes reading a book is the only time busy parents can make to talk one-on-one with their children. This gives kids fantastic memories of close, shared time and an association between books and attention. We know children who are read to are often talking early, but the main thing is they are absorbing a book culture at home which gives them the best start possible for developing early learning skills".
Although the advice given was for the parents, the questions raised were equally important and the Ladybird editors got a lot of out of the day too; Nicola said, "The best thing about Ladybird Live for me was the opportunity to engage with the parents who are buying our books and hear what sort of things they’re looking for" and Ellen commented, "It’s always fantastic to hear directly from parents about the ups and downs their children are having with books and reading. And the fact that people write or phone in with questions goes to show that they really care about helping their child to read, which is the most important thing!"
Many of the issues raised got the editors thinking. Ellen said, "We always try to keep real children in mind when we are deciding what will go on the page, so the comments, whether good or bad, that we get from parents really will help to shape the Ladybird books you will see on the shelves in coming months and years". Nicola commented, "Some feedback in particular really stood out, for example the suggestion that it would be useful to have some guidance on what book a child might enjoy next, once they have finished or grown out of a series. At Ladybird we’re proud to have books for every age and every stage, so on the back of our books we will be looking at recommending which books your child might enjoy next from our list."
Phew! A wonderful job done, lots of fun and some fantastic food for thought for the Ladybird Team.There are some more Ladybird Live events at Picturehouse cinemas through June so check your nearest venue. Finally, we were so pleased with how Ladybird Live went this year, that we are already planning another Ladybird storytelling activity later this year and next! Watch this space…
If you'd like some advice on reading with your child, whatever stage they are at, you can always check the advice and resources pages of Ladybird.com where you'll find tips on reading with babies, toddlers and children.