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  • Writer's pictureAndy Shepherd

Listen up all Bookworms

One of my sons is what people call a bookworm. When he was younger he inhaled books. He got lost for hours in them and insisted on owning all the hardback as well as paperback versions of his favourites. He comments on the smell of books and thinks going to a bookshop is the biggest treat. He is an easy fit into the bookworm category.

My second son isn’t like this and never has been. His reading ability has always been good. He just doesn’t choose to pick up a book. So does that mean he isn’t a reader? Absolutely not. He reads comics and graphic novels, he reads Dungeons & Dragons manuals, he reads the stories and instructions as he navigates computer game worlds. Occasionally he finds a book he loves – usually a book that would be described by some as ‘below his reading age’ – and reads it over and over. And every day he listens to us reading stories to him and his brother, and then curls up in bed with audio books.

There are so many ways to be a reader. People often say how imaginative my second son is, what a great story-teller he is. That to me is a sign of a child who has been immersed in story and books. And he has, he just doesn’t read them himself. He might access stories in a different way, but he is just as much a bookworm as his big brother.

I’d urge anyone who sees a child not reading, not to give up on them as a kid who just doesn’t like books. Keep reading to them, beyond the age where they can read independently. (We still read to our two and they’re 16 and 13!) And offer them the chance to listen to stories themselves, because they will still get that magical feeling of curling up with a good story.

Here are some of our favourite audio books.

(For me a narrator can make or break a listening experience, so it’s worth checking your child likes the sound of whoever is reading the book)

How To Train Your Dragon Series and the Wizards of Once series by Cressida Cowell – read by David Tennant

Michelle Paver’s Wolf Brother series read by Sir Ian McKellan

Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins read by Paul Boehmer

Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend read by Gemma Whelan

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – read by Stephen Fry

Bob by Wendy Maas and Rebecca Stead read by Rob Dircks and Nora Hunter

Charlie Changes into a Chicken by Sam Copeland read by Rhashan Stone

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson read by Penelope Rawlins

Knitbone Pepper series by Claire Barker read by Rosie Jones

I’d add one of my personal favourites too

Murder Most Unladylike and the rest of the series by Robin Stevens read by Katie Leung

And of course I must give a huge thank you and a wave to Ewan Goddard who reads The Boy Who Grew Dragons series so brilliantly. Hearing my own stories read aloud is such an incredible thrill. The fourth book 'The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons' has just been released and I can't wait to get my own copy of the audio book. I couldn't wait for it to arrive and have already listened on audible! The series is available on Borrowbox too.

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