Sunday 1 July 2012


Over the past few days, Daughter and I have been enjoying the Bookstart website

We were given our first Bookstart pack when we went to Daughter's one year check up with the health visitors and aside from including two books - Elmer's Weather by David McKee and Peepo Baby! by Georgie Birkett - the pack came with some leaflets about various games on the Bookstart website as well as a £1 book voucher. Score.

We've not yet had chance to go to a big bookshop to spend her voucher, but we have been spending a lot of time online, singing along with the rhymes on the website and playing the various games available.

I am prepared to be slated for introducing my baby to the internet at such a young age, but I passionately believe that - supervised - the web is an incredible teaching tool. Sites like Bookstart and Cbeebies are magical ways to engage tiny people for longer than two minutes, help them begin interacting with computers - something which will be increasingly important as they start school - and are a great tool for teaching things like counting, hand-eye-coordination and the alphabet. The Cbeebies podcasts are especially good, providing 'interactive' stories for children to join in with. The good thing with the computer over the television is that it encourages participation, rather than simple absorbtion and I'm sure other people who were taught the old-school (pun intended) way where you were forced to learn by rote will agree that learning by doing is much more fun.

I'm not suggesting that the Bookstart site is a wonderful babysitter - it only really works if you're there with your child anyway - nor is it a replacement for a bedtime story, however it is a brilliant supplement to reading at home and can help to give Mums and Dads a good idea of the sort of things to highlight when reading, and the sort of questions to ask when the book is finished.

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