Book Central – The Best Birthday Present Ever

No doubt you’ve heard the message “read books with your child” but what they don’t tell you is what books to read and how to read them.  Did you know it’s actually these two things – the what and how – that makes the difference to your child’s development?

We know from research that children who are not read to have poorer understanding of language, their vocabularies are smaller and their thinking skills are less advanced.  And this means they go on to have trouble learning to read themselves.  So, reading the right books in the right way to your child is critical to their development.

To help you out we’re going to answer the what and how or book reading with one fantastic book and our top three tips to make sure the way you’re reading is improving your child’s listening, talking and thinking skills.


The Best Birthday Present Ever! By Ben Mantle

What’s it about?

This book is about a squirrel who tries very hard to find his bear friend the very best birthday present ever! The squirrel decides a stick would be the best gift, and so he scours the entire woods to find the perfect one. At the bear’s birthday party, the squirrel finds that all of the bear’s presents are extravagant and just keep getting bigger and better with each one he unwraps! But the squirrel’s worries are all for naught, as the bear beams with glee, for he has always wanted a stick.



Our top 3 tips

  1. Follow the story along with your finger.

Following the story along with your finger helps children understand where you are looking to read the words within the book. From here, children can get their first glimpse into the relationship between printed letters and the sounds these letters make. This is the first important step of learning how to read.

  1. Get into a solid routine of reading a book every day.

Setting time aside every day to read helps children get into the habit of reading and practising their reading skills. Pick a time that is normally quiet so that distractions are limited and both you and your child can focus on what is happening in the books.

  1. Talk about the moral of the story.

Talking about the moral of the story can help sum up what the book is about. This skill is for older children, but is useful for them as they can use their higher-level language skills to look between the lines of what the story says to get a deeper understanding of what the book was really about.


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