Books make wonderful presents - NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS!

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Books make a lovely, thoughtful Christmas present that will last long after various bits of assorted plastic find themselves in the bin, along with an EU sized, cardboard packaging mountain and 14 gross of dead and hugely expensive batteries! Hopefully, just occassionally a present of a book may start the child onto the lifelong path of enjoyment that reading offers - the gift that lasts a lifetime?

In these days where electronic games and consoles have given our children the attention span of a goldfish (7 seconds - "Oh, a castle" swim, swim "Oh, a castle"- or is that meomory span - no matter) what a pleasure it is to see a child pick up a book and start to read, purely for a pleasure. It matters not what sort of book, any will be better than none.

Purists will argue that all children should be fed a diet of the "classics" to start reading with, but does it really matter if your child reads comics, football programs or, what we may consider, garbage? Yes, Daniel Defoe or Wordsworth may offer a "purer reading experience" but how many children have been put-off reading because they were forced to read such missives early in life?

The basic point is to teach the child the joy derived from reading ............... anything, it does not matter! Once reading becomes enjoyable, most children will broaden their range through choice, not through being told what is "good."

So, do us all a favour. Encourage your children to read and how to derive pleasure from such a simple, age-old, practice. Even if they only start by reading the search results from Gooogle at least it will be a beginning! AND remember, a book is for life, not just Christmas!

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