"You may have tangible wealth untold:
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a mother who read to me."
'The Reading Mother' Strickland Gillian
Simple books. Where would we be without books to enrich our lives? For me, as a teacher and a mother, literacy is obviously an extremely important tool with which we can equip our children for their lives. And yet, I think there's something more to books than just education and literacy. The pure enjoyment of reading a book, which is something that cannot be taught - only encouraged, can last a lifetime and is a precious gift.
Encouraging a simple love of books has been a very important part of parenting for me. We go to the library often and keep them at home in a basket within easy reach of little hands. (Bless all libraries! Hope they don't close down too many). The constant supply of new stories is vital for the girls and me too! I also get most of my books from the library, especially fiction books which I won't read again. I save my budget for books for non-fiction which I will use again for reference, for writing, for future re-reads.
At home we keep baskets of books all over the place and on shelves too. Though I find that little ones find it easier to access books from a basket as they can flip through them. I also think books look more appealing stored in a basket rather than a bookshelf. We read together at any time of day, it's particularly special when we start the day with a few books in bed before we get up but it doesn't happen as often as I would like. We always have a bedtime story or two and then I encourage the girls to read in bed as they have a small basket of books on their bed too. (My husband says no more baskets! but I like them!)
One very nice time to share a book together is in the morning before we leave for nursery and school, it has become part of the routine in the morning to try to make time to sit quietly and have a story before we go off for our busy day. If it's a day when I'm at work this generally doesn't happen, but it is something for which I can aim as I find it very calming and centering to have these quiet five minutes with my girls. As for my own reading, I have to, even just a little bit every day - or I feel like I haven't done something quiet and reflective for myself all day. I just have to make the time for it, even just five minutes before I go to bed.
When it comes to making time for simple books and reading in our lives I would say one more thing. Call me a Luddite, that's fine, but I'm with Julia Donaldson on this one, I don't think Kindles are appropriate for young children. (I don't want one for myself either although there is a belief by some close to me that one day I will give in, perhaps). One clear reason for me is that my children are already allowed TV (although fairly limited, no more than about 1 hour a day) and are allowed to play certain computer games such as the Cbeebies games. That is already enough time spent in front of an electronic device, which I believe aren't particularly healthy for them.
Just some simple books and some time to enjoy them together. Certainly one of the most enjoyable and nourishing parts of my day.