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Fun with Reading

The Bookstart Scheme

Bookstart is a national scheme offering free books to children under five-years-old and advice to their parents on sharing books with children from a very early age.

How will it benefit children?

Sharing books with babies and toddlers is a wonderful way to increase language skills and helps children to understand their world.

The first five years are the best time for learning to talk and most of a child's language comes from the adults around them. Babies and toddlers who love books begin reading sooner and have a better chance at school.

Three different packs of books are available for children between the ages of 7 months through to three year olds. These are FREE and include guidance materials for parents and carers.

Contact your Health Visitor or local Library for more information.

Click here to view the local Bookstart web site


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Once I caught a fish alive!
6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Then I let it go again.
Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so!
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on my right.

(This is a great counting song! Count with you child on their fingers and teach them to count to 10)

A Zoo in our house by Heather Eyles

Mum and I went to the zoo.
I said,"Can we have a zoo in our house?"
"Certainly not,"said Mum.
...on Monday a giraffe was eating on the kitchen.
On Tuesday a hippopotamus was splashing in the bath.
On wednesday a monkey was swinging in the hall.
On Thursday a crocodile was washing in the garden.
On Friday a lion was sleeping in the living room.
On Saturday all the animals came and we had a party.
On Sunday Mum sent them all back to the zoo.
"Phew," said Mum.
...she forgot the gorilla.

Guess how much i love you By Sam McBratney

Little Nut Brown Hare,who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare's very long ears.
He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening.
"Guess how much i love you," he said.
"Oh, I don't think I could guess that,"said Big Nutbrown Hare.
"This much,"said Little Nutbrown Hare,stretching out his arms as wide as they could go.
Bid Nutbrown Hare had even longer arms."But I love YOU this much," he said.
Hmmm,that is a lot thought Little Nutbrown Hare.
"I love you as high as I can reach,"said Little Nutbrown Hare.
"I love you as High as I can reach,"said Big Nutbrown HAre.
That is quite high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that.
Then Little Nutbrown Hare had a good idea.He tumbled upside down and reached up the tree trunk with his feet.
" I love you all the way up to my toes!" he said.
"And I love you all the way up to your toes," said Big Nutbrown Hare,swinging him up over his head.
" I love you as high as i can HOP!" laughed Little Nutbrown Hare,bouncing up and down.
"But I love you as high as I can hop," smiled Big Nutbrown hare-and he hopped so high that his ears touched the branches above.
Thats good hopping,thought Little Nutbrown Hare.I wish I could hop like that.
"I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river," cried Little Nutbrown Hare.
That's very far,thought Little Nutbrown Hare.
He was almost too sleepy to think anymore.
Then he looked beyond the thorn bushes,out into the big dark night.
Nothing could be further than the sky.
"I love you right up to the MOON," he said,and closed his eyes.
"Oh,that's far"said Big Nut Brown Hare."Thats is very far."
Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves.
He leaned over and kissed him good night.
Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile,"I love you right up to the moon-AND BACK."

Hairy Maclary

Out of the gate and off for a walk
went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy
and Hercules Morse as big as a horse
with Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy.
Bottomley Potts covered in spots,
Hercules Morse as big as a horse
and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy.
Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay,
Bottomley Potts covered in spots,
Hercules Morse as big as a horse
and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy.
Bitzer Maloney all skinny and bony,
Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay,
Bottomley Potts covered in spots,
Hercules Morse as big as a horse
and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy.
Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum,
Bitzer Maloney all skinny and bony,
Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay,
Bottomley Potts covered in spots,
Hercules Morse as big as a horse
and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy.
With tails in the air they trotted on down
past the shops and the park to the far end of town.
They sniffed at the smells and they snooped at each door,
when suddenly,
out of the shadows they saw...

the toughest Tom in town.

said Scarface Claw.

Off with a yowl a wail and a howl,
a scatter of paws and a clatter of claws,
went Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum,
Bitzer Maloney all skinny and bony,
Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay,
Bottomley Potts covered in spots,
Hercules Morse as big as a horse
straight back home to bed!

Halfway Down The Stairs

Halfway down the stairs is a stair where I sit.
There isn't any other stair quite like it.
I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top.
So this is the stair where I always stop.
Halfway up the stairs isn't up and isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery, it isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts run round my head.
It isn't really anywhere, it's somewhere else instead.
Halfway down the stairs is a stair where I sit.
There isn't any other stair quite like it.
I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top.
So this is the stair where I always stop.

Head, Shoulders, knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes
knees and toes
Head shoulders, knees and toes
knees and toes
And eyes and ears and mouth
and nose.
Head shoulders, knees and
toes, knees and toes!

(this is a good rhyme to teach your child the names of body parts and if you both do the actions as you sing along it is a fun way to get them active!)

I'm Hiding

I'm hiding, I'm hiding
They don't know where to find me
Mommy says he's in the pot
Daddy says oh no he's not
Maybe he's behind a chair
They take a look but I'm not there
I'm not there, I'm not there
They don't know where to find me
I'm hiding, I'm hiding
They don't know where to find me
They try the closet they try the hall
But little old me's not there at all
Daddy says we gotta think
Shh, says Mom, he's in the sink
But I'm not there, I'm not there
They don't know where to find me
Daddy scratches his head
Mommy looks under the bed
Then they open the drawer
But I don't know what for
Under the rug, behind the couch
Boy they nearly got me, ouch
That was close
I wonder if they saw me
I'm hiding, I'm hiding
They don't know where to find me
No one can find me, no one, no one, no one can
Oh boy,surprise!
They got me

How The Dog Lost His Bone

One day the dog was nosing about the farm. He liked to poke his nose into everything, sniffing around here and there. He sniffed in the barn, he sniffed in the shed, he sniffed in the bedroom, and he sniffed in the kitchen.....mmmmmm......He could smell dinner! "Are you in here again?" asked the cook. "Get out of my kitchen!" But the dog just sat on the floor and panted happily. "I can't make dinner while you're around?" said the cook. The dog just barked. Finally, the cook gave the dog a bone, and pushed him out of the kitchen. There was a hill not far from the house that would be the perfect place to bury the bone. So, off the dog trotted down the road. He came to the bridge, and happened to look down into the stream. What did he see, but another dog staring back at him? GGrrrrrrrrrr.......said the dog, holding onto his bone tightly. Now, you and I know it was just his shadow, but he thought it was another dog and this dog had a bone even bigger than his own bone! "Give me that bone!" the dog barked, jumping into the stream. But as soon as he had opened his mouth to bark at the other dog, his own bone fell from his mouth and dropped into the stream, where it was quickly washed away. It took some time for the dog to notice that his treasure was gone, because he was so busy barking at the other dog. Eventually, it began to dawn on him that he was not coming any closer to winning. So he climbed back up on shore and shook himself off. When he realised his bone was gone, he climbed back on the bridge, and looked down at the other dog. The other dog's bone was gone as well? He trotted back to the farm house to get another bone, but the cook had locked the door, and ignored his howls to come in. Oh well, thought the dog, sometimes, it is better to be satisfied with what you have, and not to chase after shadows!

Horsey Horsey

Horsey, horsey don't you stop
just let your feet go clippety clop,
your tail goes swish
and the wheels go round,
giddy up, we're homeward bound!

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.

Little Robin Redbreast

Little Robin Redbreast
Sat upon a rail.
Niddle, naddle went his head;
Wiggle, waggle went his tail.
Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree,
Up went pussy cat, and down went he!
Down came pussy, and away Robin ran;
Says little Robin Redbreast, "Catch me if you can!"
Little Robin Redbreast jumped upon a wall,
Pussy cat jumped after him, and almost got a fall!
Little Robin chirped and sang, and what did pussy say?
Pussy cat said, "Meow," and Robin jumped away.

Incy Wincy Spider

Incy Wincy Spider
Climed up the water spout;
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sunshine
and dried up all the rain;
So Incy Wincery spider
climed up the spout again!

(Do the actions to this rhyme with your child - it'll soon become one of their favourites)

My Dog Likes to Disco by Kenn Nesbitt

My doggy likes to disco dance.
He boogies every night.
He dances in his doghouse
till the early morning light.
The other dogs come running
when they hear my doggy swing.
A few will bring their play instruments.
The others dance and sing.
They pair off with their partners
as their tails begin to wag.
They love to do the bunny hop,
the fox trot and the jazz.
You'll see the doghouse rockin'
as a hundred dogs or more
all trip the light fantastic
on the doghouse dance floor.
As last, at dawn, they exit
in the early morning breeze,
and stop to sniff the fire hydrants,
the bushes, lawns and trees.
I just don't understand it
for although it looks like fun.
I can't see how they fit inside
that doghouse built for one!

My Magic Hat Is Marvellous By Kenn Nesbitt

My magic hat is marvellous.
It's round and rather red.
it looks just like a baseball cap
and sits atop my head.
The things it does are magical;
It helps to keep me warm,
and keep my head from getting wet
whenever there's a storm.
It's magic how it shades my eyes
and holds my hair in place.
And if I wear it backwards,
it reveals my smiling face.
It's magically adjustable;
just pull the little strap.
And yet it looks exactly
like a normal baseball cap.
It's powers are mysterious.
You simply have to see.
i'll gladly let you take a look
for just a twenty dollar fee.

Papa Forgot

One night Harry’s Mummy and Daddy went out.
Papa came to take care of Harry.
Papa is Harry’s Daddy’s Daddy.
“Now don’t forget,”
said Harry’s Mummy,
“Harry’s food is in the fridge,
his slippers are under the bed,
and his paints are in the cupboard.”
“Don’t worry,” said Papa,
“I won’t forget.”
“And don’t forget,”
said Harry’s Daddy,
“Harry’s bathtime is at six o’clock,
and his bedtime is at seven o’clock.”
“Don’t worry,” said Papa,
“I won’t forget.”
Harry and Papa waved goodbye.
Then Harry ate a tasty supper of
fish fingers, broccoli and ice-cream.
But Papa forgot…
…to put on Harry’s bib.
Then Harry went into his bedroom and bounced
on the bed.
But Papa forgot…
…to take off Harry’s shoes.
Then Harry painted a lovely picture.
But Papa forgot... put on Harry’s smock.
The clock struck six. Bathtime. But Papa forgot… squeeze the bubble bath just once.
The clock struck seven. Bedtime.
But Papa forgot… put Harry to bed.
Papa and Harry built a castle instead.
The clock struck eight. Papa and Harry went outside
and looked at the moon and the stars.
The clock struck nine. Papa put on a
record and they danced.
The clock struck ten. “What shall we do now?” asked Papa.
But Harry didn’t say anything.
He was fast asleep!
Papa put Harry into his bed with Big Bear and
Baby Bear, and he DIDN’T forget to tuck them all in.
Just then Harry’s Mummy and Daddy came home.
“Ssshh!” said Papa. “Harry is asleep.”
“Did you have fun?” whispered Harry’s Mummy.
“Yes,” said Papa.
“Was Harry a good boy?” asked Harry’s Daddy.
“Oh yes,” said Papa, “the very best.”
“Did you remember everything?” asked Harry’s Mummy.
“But of course!” said Papa.
“Papas never forget.”

Puss in Boots

There was once a miller who had three sons. When he died, he left his mill to the eldest son, his cottage to his middle son and only his pet cat to his youngest son, William. William went and sat under a tree, feeling very miserable and sorry for himself. “What will become of us, Puss?” he moaned. To William’s utter amazement, Puss answered him. “Don’t worry master,” said the cat. “Just do what I say and you will be far richer than either of your brothers!” Puss told William to get a fine suit of clothes, a pair of soft leather boots and a strong canvas sack. Then he caught a huge rabbit, put it in the sack, and took it to the palace. No one there had ever seen a talking cat before, so he was granted an immediate audience with the king. “Your Majesty,” said Puss, “this fine rabbit is a gift from my master, the Marquis of Carabas.” The king had never heard of the Marquis of Carabas, but he was too embarrassed to admit this. “Please thank the Marquis,” he said to Puss, “and give him my regards.” The next day, Puss caught some plump partridges and once more he took them to the king, with the same message: “These are from my master.” For several months, Puss went on bringing the king fine gifts. One day, he heard that the king would be riding along the river bank that afternoon with the princess. “Master,” said Puss,” you must go swimming in the river today.” “Why?” asked William. “Just do as I say, and you will see,” answered Puss. While William was swimming, Puss hid all his clothes. Then, when he saw the king’s carriage approaching, he ran up to it shouting for help. “Help!” cried Puss. “Robbers have stolen my master’s clothes!” When the king recognised the cat, he immediately called to his chief steward and ordered him to bring a fine new suit from the palace. “It must be of the finest cut,” said the king, “and made from the softest cloth, do you hear! Only the best will do for the Marquis of Carabas!” Once he was dressed in his fine new suit, William looked quite handsome. The princess invited him to join her and her father in the carriage. As William and the princess sat side by side, they began to fall in love. Meanwhile, Puss ran ahead until he came to a meadow where he saw some men mowing. “The king’s carriage is coming,” Puss told them. “When he asks whose meadow this is, say it belongs to the Marquis of Carabas – or you will have your heads cut off!” The mowers didn’t dare to disobey. When the royal carriage came by, the king asked who the meadow belonged to. The mowers quickly replied, “The Marquis or Carabas.” “I can see that you are very well off indeed,” the king said to William, who blushed modestly. That made the princess love him even more! Down the road, Puss came to a field where men were harvesting corn. “When the king asks you whose corn this is,” Puss told them, “say it belongs to the Marquis of Carabas- or you will have your heads cut off!” The harvesters didn’t dare to disobey. Next, Puss came to an enormous castle which he knew belonged to a fierce ogre. Still he bravely knocked on the door. When the ogre let him in, Puss bowed low and said, “I have heard that you have wondrous powers, and can change yourself into anything, even a lion or an elephant.” “That is true,” said the ogre. And to prove it, he changed himself into a snarling, growling lion. Puss was terrified and leapt up onto a cupboard. Then the ogre changed back again. “That was amazing,” Puss remarked. “But surely it cannot be too difficult for someone of your size to change into a creature as big as a lion. If you were truly the magician they say you are, you could turn into something tiny, like a mouse.” “Of course I can do that!” bellowed the ogre. In an instant he became a little brown mouse scurrying across the floor. Quick as a flash, Puss leapt off the cupboard, pounced on the mouse and ate it in one big gulp! Soon, Puss heard the king’s carriage drawing near and rushed outside. As it approached, he bowed low and said, “Welcome, Your Majesty, to the home of the Marquis of Carabas.” The king was very impressed indeed. “May we come in?” he asked William. “Of course, Your Majesty,” replied William, a little confused. As they walked through the castle, the king was delighted to see treasures of great value everywhere he looked. He was so pleased that he said to William, “You are the perfect husband for my daughter.” William and the princess were very happy and later that day they were married. They lived in the ogre’s castle happily ever after. Puss, of course, lived with them, though he never chased mice again!

Row, Row, Row your boat

Row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream
Rock, rock rock your boat
gently down the Nile
If you see a crocodile
Don't forget to smile
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see a crocodile
Don't forget to ... SCREAM!!!

(Sit on the floor facing your child, hold hands and rock backwards and forwards as you sing "row, row, row your boat.." but don't foget to scream as load as you can when you see the crocodile!)

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Touch the ground
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Turn around
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Show your shoe
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
That will do
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Run up stairs
Teddy bear, Teddy bear
Say your prayers
Teddy bear, Teddy bear
Blow out the light
Teddy bear, Teddy bear
Say good night!

Queenie The Bantam Typed Out For Us By Johnny Riley (aged 11)

“Look!” said Caitlin’s dad.
“What is it?” asked Caitlin’s mum.
“It’s a hen in the lake,” replied dad, and he did not hesitate.
Off came his shoes, off came his socks, off came his hat and off came Caitlin!
Caitlin’s dad knew that the hen was in trouble. Big trouble!
“She’s a bantam” said Mum. “Wrap her up warm,” said Dad.
“What’s your name, then? Hatty? Tessa? Molly?” said Mum. “No, Queenie! I think you’re a Queenie!”
That might have been the end of the story … but it wasn`t!
Queenie was soon very much at home in Bruno`s basket. And, in time, Queenie saw Caitlin’s first steps – one, two, three. Queenie had become one of the family. But Caitlin’s Mum knew that Queenie had a home of her own.
“I think she lives on the farm over the hill from the lake,” said Mum.
So they all set off to the farm. Mum was right. This was Queenie’s home. That might have been the end of the story but it wasn’t!
The next morning Queenie got up before the sun. She flew over the fence, ran along the path and past the churchyard. She went around the lake and through the woods … over the road, across the park … and down the street to Caitlin’s house.
And in Bruno’s basket she laid a single, perfect egg. It was Caitlin who found the egg the next morning and the next and the next - every morning Queenie made the long journey to lay her egg. Only once did they spy on Queenie laying her egg, and never again.
”It didn’t seem right,” said Mum. “It seemed…”
“Private,” said Dad.
And so the weeks turned to months. There were changes in Caitlin’s house. There was a new baby! The story might have ended right there … but it didn’t!
After the new baby came home, Caitlin forgot to collect Queenie’s eggs. Bruno reclaimed his basked and Queenie never returned. Bruno hatched the eggs … CHICKS!
“Those chicks need their mother,” said Mum.
So they all went back to the farm.
“There’s Queenie!” said Caitlin.
Caitlin’s Mum and Dad and the new baby came home with bread and milk and cheese. And quess what Caitlin brought home – a chick!
Bruno made room for yet another addition to the family!
One day the chick will be fully grown and will see Caitlin’s brother take his first steps.

But that’s another story.

Toad Builds A Road

Toad makes a road
Toad hops happily.
She has a new house on the hill.
“My new house is best,” she boasts.
Toad waits and waits for the truck to bring her things.
Time ticks on….
She’s out of luck.
Where is that truck?
Is the truck stuck?
Toad hops down the hill.
She’s in luck.
There’s the truck.
“I can’t get up the hill. The load will spill”.
There’s no track for the truck.
So, Toad brings her things up the hill.
Toad is tired.
With one last hop she flops into bed….
Next day, Toad eats toast.
“Today is my party!”
But only Billy the goat comes up the hill.
“It’s far too steep, except for me or a sheep.”
“What you need is a road, Toad”
“If I need a road, then I will build a road!” says Toad.
“But toads can’t make roads,” says Billy. “That’s silly.”
“Wait and see!” says Toad.
Toad clears a track.
She then lays black sticky tar.
She steam rollers it flat.
Toad’s road is ready.
Now toads in luck.
Here comes the truck!

The Owl and The Pussy Cat by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
O lovely Pussy, o Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
What a beautiful pussy you are!
Pussy said to Owl, You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried
But what shall we do for a ring?
They saied away for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose
His nose!
With a ring at the end of his nose.
Dear Pig are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring? Said the piggy, I will
So they took it away and were married next day
By the turkey who lives on the hill
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcibile spoon;
And hand in hand,on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon
They danced by the light of the moon!

The Ugly Duckling Song

There once was an ugly duckling
With feathers all stubby and brown
And the other birds said in so many words said
Get out of town
Get out, get out, get out of town
And he went with a quack and a waddle and a quack
In a flurry of eiderdown
That poor little ugly duckling
Went wandering far and near
But at every place they said to his face
Now get out, get out, get out of here
And he went with a quack and a waddle and a quack
And a very unhappy tear
All through the wintertime he hid himself away
Ashamed to show his face, afraid of what others might say
All through the winter in his lonely clump of wheat
Till a flock of swans spied him there and very soon agreed
You’re a very fine swan indeed!
A swan? Me a swan? Ah, go on!
And he said yes, you’re a swan
Take a look at yourself in the lake and you’ll see
And he looked, and he saw, and he said
I am a swan! Wheeeeeeee!
I’m not such an ugly duckling
No feathers all stubby and brown
For in fact these birds in so many words said
The best in town, the best, the best
The best in town
Not a quack, not a quack, not a waddle or a quack
But a glide and a whistle and a snowy white back
And a head so noble and high
Say who’s an ugly duckling?
Not I!
Not I!

The Wheels on the Bus

1.The Wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round all day long
2. The driver on the bus says move along please...
3. The babies on the bus go waa, waa, waa ...
4. The children on the bus bounce up and down ...
5 The mummies on the bus go chatter, chatter, chatter ...
6. The daddies on the bus go stop that noise ....
All Day Long!

(Do the actions with your child as you sing the song together!)

The Man In The Moon

The man in the moon
Looked out of the moon,
And this is what he said,
'Tis time that, now i'm getting up,
All babies went to bed.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.

When Saying Goodnight

When you're all tired and sleepy
And cosily cuddled up tight
Love is the very last cuddle and kiss
That helps you sleep safe through the night