As a parent (and a teacher) I am constantly looking for ways to enthuse my children in reading. The Parrot Street Book Club has been set up to inspire children to love reading.
Reading is such an important part of any child’s development and reading for pleasure has long been proven to support the development of imagination and creativity as well as intellectual, emotional and social skills. With so many electronic distractions around, it is also refreshing to have something to engage the children that doesn’t need to be plugged in!
The Parrot Street Book Club aims to introduce children (and parents) to more unusual, undiscovered books, authors and genres. The titles are also carefully pitched to not be aimed at any specific gender. Designed to be explored together, the books come with ‘book club-style’ questions which are open ended and activities to explore too.
Each month, a letter-box friendly parcel is delivered which contains a chapter book to keep and a fun-filled activity pack to support the text. Subscriptions are aimed at two different levels – Parakeets, which are chapter books specifically aimed for younger children (aged 5-8 years old) and are typically between 100 and 200 pages in length. Parakeet subscribers may be able to read the books themselves but will also enjoy exploring these books with a grown-up.
Cockatoo subscriptions are aimed at children who are more confident readers, so generally aimed at children aged 8-11 years old. They are generally more than 200 pages in length, with fewer illustrations than in the Parakeet subscription books and again, although the child may be able to read these independently, they can also be enjoyed together. Subscriptions start from £39.95 for 3 months and an additional sibling pack can be added at an additional cost of £4.
Our Parakeet subscription contained the book ‘Too Small Tola’ (a book I have never heard of and I spent a lot of time reading Children’s Literature as a teacher and parent!) a book of less than 100 pages with illustrations sprinkled throughout to support the story. We also had an Activity Pack which had lots of facts about Nigeria, where the book was set, questions to think about and some book recommendations to explore once we had read this book. There was also a link to the Parrot Street YouTube channel to find out more about Nigerian street food, textiles and Afrobeat music! This was a great support for the book and helped to provide some additional context for the text. We also had some practical activities to follow, making a traditional African game and Nigerian buns as well as a multicoloured crayon which we were encouraged to use to create our own fabric pattern. Each pack also comes with a card to complete a review or picture based on the text to share back with the Parrot Street Book Club.
Our Cockatoo subscription contained the book ‘Knights and Bikes’ again, one I hadn’t come across before. Again, the activity pack came with a selection of suggested activities and links to follow along with recommendations for future reading. The pack also came with a recipe to follow and instructions for building a mini golf course hole (which explained the small balls that also came with the pack!).
The packs are really-well presented with clear photos to follow for the instruction-based activities. Our children loved the novelty of receiving a book through the post and the activities and links included extend the books beautifully, emphasising the reading for pleasure element of the books and keeping the stories going beyond the pages of the books.
I had a peak at some of the other links to The Parrot Street Book Club on YouTube and really liked the variety of what I saw. The links for the April books were really intriguing and made me want to find out more about what was in this month’s subscription!
Lockdown is an ideal time to start some good habits in reading. As a family, we are trying to all read every day and I am trying to work my way through the books I never get the time to read so the children also see me with a book in my hand instead of laptop of phone!
Parrot Street Book Club is a brilliant way to support reading and home and compliment the reading the children will do at school. A great incentive to snuggle up together with a book and get hands on with some interesting practical activities too!