Sounds of the Forest

Sounds of the Forest is a book and owl whistle combination that is designed to help bond adult and child whilst reading. It is beautifully presented and is perfect to introduce children to the world of reading.

Sounds of the Forest

Sounds of the Forest – Book

The story is about a baby owl going through the forest, experiencing all the sights and sounds that the forest has to offer. Given the age range (2 to 7 years) there clearly won’t be anything scary or anything that needs checking beforehand!

The book is about 12 pages long with generally a short paragraph on one page, and illustrations on the opposite page. It isn’t a difficult read and so children in Year 1 and 2 should be able to read most of it.

When reading it, it is quite an easy book to get into a rhythm whilst reading and it is more like a poem rather than a book. As such, it is quite a soothing read.

Just a word of note that the story uses “Mommy” rather than “Mummy”, which might need some explaining!!

Sounds of the Forest – Owl Whistle

The Owl Whistle is relatively small for grown-up hands, but pretty much perfect for pre-school hands. Even better, the whistle isn’t too loud, therefore it’s not going to get on anyone’s nerves, or wake up younger siblings!

The Owl Whistle is also not too difficult to use, even for pre-schoolers. This means that they can get involved with the story pretty much straight away. This is especially because the whistle needs no assembly or batteries, only a quick little wipe!

The book is quite easy to follow and so your little one will easily learn when it is the right time to blow the whistle!

The book lends itself to using other sounds, rather than just the whistle. As such, if you get creative, you can have a tapping of a woodpecker and a crunching of a squirrel. Perfect if you have children fighting over the whistle!

Where you can buy Sounds of the Forest?

You can buy Sounds of the Forest from a range of retailers. However, a couple are:

JoJo Maman Bebe

Debenhams

As at October 2018, it is retailing for around £12.

Importance of Reading

If you’re still wondering about whether to buy a book for your little one, I have done this blog post. it is all about the importance of reading and it is something that I am passionate about.

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Jackson Saves an Owl

Jackson Saves an Owl is a children’s book about a superhero child, who, well, saves an owl! The twist in the story is that Jackson is based on a real-life superhero. Real-life Jackson, aged  nearly 3, has Krabbe disease and the character was designed to give spark real-life Jackson’s imagination at night, to allow him to be free.

Jackson Saves an Owl

The Story

Almost the best way to describe the story of Jackson Saves an Owl is to say that it is the book version of PJ Masks. Jackson is free at night to take to the skies and use his superpowers! Of all the ways he could use his superpowers, he flies to help an Owl stuck in a puddle in the middle of the night.

The book has a rhythmic flow to it when reading it and as a result, it is lovely to read out loud. The language within the book isn’t too complex and the words within it is such that Heidi, aged 5, could probably read it quite well. The problem with letting your child read it is that it is 20 pages long and they might lose concentration and not be able to finish it in one go.

The illustrations

The illustrations are bright and colourful and a pleasure to look at. Rather than describe them, here are a couple of photos!

The story behind the story

On the inside back page is the real-life story about Jackson. Whilst he is a superhero in the book, more importantly, he is a superhero in real life. At the time of writing, Jackson is approaching the age of 3 and suffers from the rare and terminal illness called Krabbe disease.

Jackson Saves an Owl was written by Jackson’s dad who developed the book character to help the real  life Jackson to dream at night, when he was free to be whatever he wanted to be. This book will be a loving and lasting legacy of Jackson.

Top Tip! Before reading Jackson Saves an Owl, check out the page about real-life Jackson. Depending on your child, you may not want to talk about the issue just before bed as it might upset them. However, the message is delivered in a strong, yet sensitive way, but clearly you know your child best.

One really cool thing

It might sound a really daft thing. However, as the pages are white or near white, and the text is black, it makes it really easy to read at bed time. You know, when you dim the lights trying you get your darling child to sleep!!

Where can you get Jackson Saves an Owl?

You can buy the book using the following links:

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42141736-jackson-saves-an-owl

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jackson-Saves-Owl-Superhero/dp/8799506262/

Related Reading

Here you can read about why reading is so important to Heidi and I.

IMPORTANT! We received a free copy of the book for the purposes of this blog post. However, no attempts have been made to influence this post.

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Time To Read

As part of the Booktrust “Time to Read” week (17th September 2018 to 23rd September 2018), I have been asked to share our experiences of reading and how much it has benefitted Heidi so far in her life.

How and When We Make Time to Read

Our Time to Read can be summarised into two main categories; Reading for Learning and Reading for Pleasure

  • Reading for Learning

Usually school give us a book to read each week. We seem to be going through the Pearson’s Phonics Bug chart. Whilst some of the books are a bit strange (In a Pit, anyone?!) they are designed to be read with only a limited number of sounds.

When we are reading for school work and going through the intricacies of sounds and word formations, we tend to do that just before bath time on an evening. That way, Heidi is not too tired to read and is able to take things in.

Time to Read
The first school book Heidi read all herself
  • Reading for Pleasure

If we are reading for pleasure, we always do that in bed, before bedtime. Heidi will pick a book from her bookshelf and I will read it throughout.  Whilst at some point I know Heidi will be able to read on her own in bed, part of me hopes she will always want me to read to her in bed. Here, I try to be as creative as possible with the voices and actions, whilst being mindful that it is supposed to be settling down time!

What we Read

When we are reading for pleasure, I try to give Heidi as much freedom as possible. I feel as though it is important for her to want to read whatever story she wants to read, as opposed to forcing a book on her.

Time To Read - bookshelf
Heidi’s bookshelf

One of the promoted books this year is “Little Monkey” and this is such a good book for little ones entering school via Reception or into Year 1. This is because the child can relate to the world being seemingly so much bigger than before and being away from loved ones, for potentially the first time ever.

Time To Read - Little Monkey
Reception children will be receiving this book

This book is going to be given out to 700,000 Reception aged children in England this year!!

How it has benefited Heidi

For me, the highlight of Heidi’s ability to read was when she was in London as a 4 year old and could navigate her way to the correct Underground Line. Granted it wasn’t perfect, but she knew to look for the “P” for “Piccadilly Line”. It proved that it was all worth it!

Perhaps the best example of how Heidi has benefitted from all the reading she does are the following excepts from her Reception school report:

  • “She is becoming a fluent reader. She is able to confidently read and understand simple and more complex sentences.
  • “Heidi has enjoyed a range of book and can demonstrate understanding of a story when talking to others about what she has read, recalling main events and characters.”
Time to Read
We did the school reading challenge!!

How it has benefited us

Making Time to Read really does bring us closer together. The bedtime story is such a highlight, and not because I want Heidi to go to sleep!! It is a time when it is just us two. There is peace and quiet and no distractions. Whilst we are focused on the book, we are also close together having cuddles and getting relaxed before bed.

You may have noticed that there are no photos of us reading in bed. This is because I do not want the intimacy of the moment to be broken. Whilst blog posts are important, keeping that peaceful atmosphere is more important!!

Top Tips for getting the most out of Time to Read

Booktrust have kindly shared their top tips for reading with your child. They are:

Set aside some time – Find somewhere quiet without any distractions.

Ask your child to choose a book –  Sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think and that their opinion matters. This means they are more likely to engage with the book.

Time to Read
Don’t choose a HUGE book to start with!!

Sit close together – Encourage your child to hold the book themselves and turn the pages.

Encourage your child to talk about the book – Talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships.

And lastly, above all – make it fun!  – It doesn’t matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together.

Time to Read

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