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Annington's support enables pastoral support in Scotland

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We are very pleased to announce that Annington Ltd, which owns and manages homes for Forces families on behalf of the Ministry of Defence is supporting Reading Force over the next three years.



James Hopkins, CEO of Annington, says:
“We were impressed by the support Reading Force is giving those Service families dealing with the challenges of separation and by the simple premise that talking about a book helps parents and children remain connected.”

The funding is being used to support a Reading Force Ambassador in Scotland, who will visit schools attended by Service children, and tri-service Welfare offices and settings across Scotland including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Lossiemouth and Faslane.

Our new team member, RF Ambassador Fiona Maxwell (photo) will meet and talk with teachers and pastoral staff about the ways Reading Force can support the needs of Service children, and how the scheme can be utilised in a variety of circumstances – whether a family are at home together, separated by a deployment, readjusting and re-bonding following a deployment, or have recently moved home or school.

For the last year RF Ambassador Pam Parish has been visiting pastoral personnel in schools and settings across England, and the face-to-face meetings have been highly beneficial and raised awareness of Reading Force and its free resources to families. We wanted to extend this impact to Scotland.

James Hopkins: “When the charity asked us to help them fund the costs of an Ambassador for Scotland, an important area for  the charity’s development strategy, we were delighted to help.”

Our new Ambassador for Scotland, Fiona Maxwell, was an Army wife for 34 years and is a mother of three with ten moves of home under her belt. She fully understands the challenges that can arise during separations, new postings, mobility and resettling. She is also a keen reader, and one-time garrison librarian, and books have been a constant throughout her and her three daughters’ military family life.

Fiona: “Being the Reading Force Ambassador allows me to promote my love of, and belief in the importance and lasting benefits of, shared family reading to Services families across Scotland. This matters to me because shared reading was a fundamental part of my family’s life when my children were growing up – and continues to connect us all.

I am looking forward to building lasting and co-operative relationships with schools, unit welfare offices and other organisations involved in the educational, emotional and social well-being of Service children and to raising awareness of Reading Force and its positive outcomes throughout the Forces community and support services. I hope to encourage as many Service families, schools and community groups as possible to experience the fun and merits of taking part.”

Annington Ltd’s support is also contributing to the printing of the special Reading Force scrapbooks for all Service children.

Dr. Alison Baverstock, founder and Director of Reading Force, says: “Reading Force is a simple way of keeping parents involved with home life and children connected to their parents. We appreciate Annington's support very much and are delighted to be working with them to promote the emotional stability of Forces families.”



Summer holiday reads for all ages

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Need some inspiration for books to share during your summer holidays?

Read on to discover more…

Ages 4 to 7


What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday
 by Julia Donaldson 

A brilliant new adventure for the clever ladybird, who with the help of some very noisy zoo animals must interrupt her holiday to stop the Queen’s crown being stolen. 


Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger by Helen Stephens 

Gracie is going to the zoo with her dad, but there’s a problem – her dad’s a robber! She must stop him spoiling her day, and luckily a friendly tiger is on hand to help out.


Are We There Yet?
By Dan Santat 

A boy is travelling to see his grandma and the journey is taking forever. But suddenly he has travelled back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. Has he arrived or is he dreaming? Hugely enjoyable, original and inventive.


Ages 7 to 11

The Bolds on Holiday
 by Julian Clary

The hairiest family in Teddington go camping in Cornwall with their extended family. The Bolds have a very big secret – will they be able to keep it hidden while away? This is an hilarious page-turner.



My Evil Twin is a Supervillain
by David Solomons

If a twin sounds fun, think again, this one is super-powered and from another dimension. This new adventure from the 'My Brother Is A Superhero' series is very funny and imaginative.



Dragon Rider
by Cornelia Funke

A magical adventure which takes readers on the journey of a lifetime. Jump on the back of the dragon and be taken to places humans cannot see.


Grandpa’s Great Escape
by David Walliams

Jack’s Grandpa wears his slippers to the supermarket and often doesn’t remember Jack’s name, but he can still take to the skies in a Spitfire and save the day. Beautiful story about the bond between a boy and his beloved Grandpa.


Ages 11 to 14

The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth
by Katherine Woodfine 

Sophie and Lil put on their disguises, follow a trail of secrets, and mingle in high society to solve a case. Will they catch London’s most dangerous criminal?



Face the Music
By Mariane Levy

Katie Cox never meant to become a popstar but now her first concert is just days away. She found her voice online, but can she face the music in the real world?


We’d love to hear what your favourite books are. 
If you send us a review of a book you've enjoyed reading using this link (it doesn't have to be one of the above titles) we’ll post it on the Reading Force website and Facebook page.

Happy Reading! 


5 schools and counting

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Emma-blogger400x370Hello Reading Force families!  I'm Emma, I'm a Pad Brat and I will be writing a regular blog about reading and Forces life. 

I was relatively lucky, I only went to three primary schools, one secondary school and one college. Friends of mine have been to fifteen!

As an adult I’ve worked in lots of schools running writing and drama workshops and worked as a school librarian and I’m grateful to the resilience that my Forces life gave me - I’m sure every Forces child knows the experience of moving to a new school and the challenges we face, but many do not realise the character building this gives us. It may not seem it when you’re younger, but as an adult all those times of being ‘the new kid’ will be of great benefit as you are able to talk to anyone and everyone having been so used to being thrown into the unknown.

With that in mind, here’s a list of my favourite books about school to help you adjust, to distract you when you’re feeling nervous, or just for the pleasure of reading if you just like school stories:



The Naughtiest Girl in School 
by Enid Blyton

A classic Blyton tale best shared with nostalgic parents and their naughty children! Despite a girl (Elizabeth Allen) being the main character, this book is suitable for boys and girls alike, as Elizabeth causes mischief and havoc in an aim to get expelled from school.

horrid henrys stinkbomb-160x225

Horrid Henry's Stinkbomb
by Francesca Simon

 A modern naughty child now, the Horrid Henry books are tons of fun and this school-based story is no exception as Henry turns to stinkbombs to win a competition.


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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
by JK Rowling 

A twist on the school story: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is full of adventure and intrigue as the main character, Harry Potter, goes from living in a cupboard under the stairs, to living at a boarding school with his best friends, Hermione and Ron, fighting against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Compare it with the film and choose which you like best.


The Worst Witch
by Jill Murphy

Before Harry Potter enrolled at Hogwarts another school of magic existed: Miss Cackle’s Academy. Mildred Hubble tries her best but always seems to get things wrong! A lively and interesting tale best read before bed to give magical dreams.
Read it now before the Netflix/CBBC series starts.

Night School
by C J Daugherty

Based around the idea of real-life British politicians who attended the same university, Daugherty’s book is filled with mystery, intrigue and excitement about a boarding school with a secret society of elite students – just like every school, right? 


That’s all for now!




A life long love of books

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Amanda Prowse200x300We’re delighted to welcome author Amanda Prowse as this month's guest blogger.

I grew up in a house without books – apart from The Littlewoods catalogue and a copy of a Haynes car manual!

My parents were young and working hard to support their four children and I don’t think they had the time to read at home. The day I was given my first library card was the day my life changed. I was six and remember learning about the Dewey decimal system and being told that I could choose not one, but a whole stack of books to take home. It felt like such a privilege to be trusted with this most precious thing.

This was only the beginning of my love affair with books. As a child who moved around a lot and as the wife of a soldier where we also enjoy a rather nomadic existence, books have been my saviour and my friends. They are my escape and my educators, my hobby and my career.

I am nearly fifty and the joy I feel when I have an unread book in my palms is exactly the same as it was when I was small. Similarly, if I don’t have a book (or more accurately a pile of books) waiting to be read, I feel a slight sense of panic! Diving into another world that provides escape from the stresses of life has always been one of my greatest pleasures.

I am an avid reader – and for me there is no greater joy than finding a fellow bookworm with whom I can discuss books and reading. Some of the happiest times I have had, have been chatting to strangers on trains, buses, planes or in the supermarket queue about books!

Books have been a wonderful way to connect with my sons over the years, now, I am interested to hear what they have been reading, but when they were little, the joy of sitting them on my lap and reading to them, as they helped me turn the pages and asked questions about the stories… ah, these are golden memories that I will always treasure.

Being married to a soldier, I love the service Reading Force provides – encouraging Service families to share books and talk about them as a way to stay connected when apart because of deployments or living far away from extended family, and simply as a way to have fun, share, and chat when at home altogether. As a booklover, Service mum and wife, this really resonates with me.

Growing up, every time I read a book, I would think, I WISH I had written that or I can do better than that! But it wasn’t until I was in my forties and my husband was on tour in Iraq that I decided to try and put pen to paper. Six years later, I have written twenty best selling novels, my books have been translated into dozens of languages and I am the UK’s most prolific fiction writer. My life is like a fairy story and it all started with entering a library for the first time and picking up a book…

Mother’s Day giveaway for Forces mums!

 We know how special and superhuman you Forces mums are, so we have a Mother’s Day giveaway just for you…

Amanda Prowse bookcoversx3-250x150... you can win Will You Remember Me? by bestselling author Amanda Prowse. We have FIVE signed copies to give away!

To be in with the chance of winning one, email your full name, address, and Service connection, to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with ‘Mother’s Day’ in the subject line, by Friday 31st March.

Poppy Day is looking forward to her best year yet. She’s thirty-two, married to her childhood sweetheart, and a full-time mum of two gorgeous children. She loves her clean little house in the countryside – a far cry from the London estate where she grew up. Her husband Mart, a soldier, has just returned safe and sound from his latest tour.

But Poppy is so busy caring for others, she hasn’t noticed the fatigue in her body, or the menacing lump growing on her breast. If there’s anyone strong and deserving enough to defeat cancer it’s Poppy. After all, she’s fought harder battles than this. But does like really work like that?

Happy Mother's Day!

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