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Ideas for making your scrapbook!

Taylor drawing 300x332If your scrapbook is lying around at home and you like the idea of using it and want to enter the Scrapbook Competition, but you’re not sure what to put in it, read on...

Hundreds of children and families take part in Reading Force throughout the year and we want to share some of their fantastic ideas with you. You can enter our Scrapbook Competition at any time and there's no limit to how many times you can enter. There are two Scrapbook Competitions a year with closing dates of 30th April and 31st October. 

First things first, remember your scrapbook is for you and your family and friends – there is no right or wrong way to complete it – only your way! If you like writing – write. If you like drawing – draw. If you like making collages – collage. Please don’t put what you think you ‘should’ in the scrapbook. Put in what you want to include.

I’m going to mention some things other children and families have included, to give you some ideas. Because Reading Force is for all ages, not everything below will apply to you all.

Horsley family 201x144Case study-EdmondsDad Skype 198x140

Photos – Lots of Reading Force scrapbooks include photos of children/ siblings/family reading their chosen book, or out and about on a day trip. These are really nice because they capture the experience of sharing the book.

Edmonds drawing 230x320

Collage – We’ve received a great scrapbook on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and colourful sweet wrappers have been stuck in next to photos, drawings, and notes. Other people have stuck in stickers and glued in post-it notes with comments on. 

Notes and thoughts – You can respond to the prompts in the scrapbook, such as ‘We chose this book because…’ or you can ignore these and write down other things about the book.

Edmonds scrapbook quote 250x156You may want to write about who is your favourite character in the book  and why; whether  you liked the ending – or if you thought it should have been a different ending and what this could have been. Did the book remind you of anything in your own life? Would you have wanted to be a character in this story?

Reed scrapbook drawing 210x213

Drawings – These could be characters from the book, or a picture of you and your family reading the book. You could do a drawing of a scene in the book. You could even invent a new cover for the book.

Cartoon strip – If drawing is your thing, you may want to have a go at making a cartoon strip in your scrapbook.

Pop-ups – Draw and cut out figures, stick them in so they can pop-up, or glue in flaps of paper that can be lifted up to reveal a drawing or note underneath.

Reed scrapbook ebluey 250x168

Letters and postcards
– If you are doing Reading Force with family members who are away from home, you can stick in the letters, postcards, or emails you sent one another about the book. We’ve had one scrapbook which included coins sent from grandparents in Canada to grandchildren in Hampshire!

All scrapbooks entered to the competition are returned (by recorded post, to ensure they are returned safely) to families with a special certificate and a free book. AND you may win one of our great competition prizes. Check out our competition page for details. 

Have fun scrapbooking!

We'd like to thank all the families who have given their permission to show their scapbooks and photos.


Schools are turning Red, White & Blue this October

  • Published in Events

RWB Day image 300x222 On Friday 9th October 2015 pupils in schools all over the UK will be showing their support for soldiers, sailors, airmen and their families, by dressing up in Red, White & Blue and donating £1 each.

Red, White & Blue Day is held every year and in 2015 will be taking place on 9th October, or any day of your choice during October & November. This year the event will feature specially created lesson plans and films which tell the story of how the RAF beat back the Luftwaffe from the skies of England during September 1940. The Battle of Britain also saw the start of "The Blitz", the German bombing campaign that attacked many cities across the UK.

If your school isn’t registered yet it’s not too late to get involved! Simply go to to register.

Make your mark

- As well as dressing up schools can mark the day with special activities. One school in Kent asked pupils to save their copper coins throughout the summer and then built a wall of pennies in the assembly hall. The wall raised a lot of money for the campaign.
- Get an insight into Service life and invite a member of the Armed Forces or a veteran to come and speak at your school. Some soldiers have brought their kit into schools and asked teachers to try and carry it.
- Have a school bake-off and cake sale in your school and invite parents for coffee and cake.
- Make up your own fantastic fund-raising idea!

Red, White & Blue Day is jointly run by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund and Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, working together for every Service family. The money raised is split between the three charities.

For more information, to register, and receive a Welcome Pack, go to:

RWB Day logo 96x300






On the Road with Reading Force

  • Published in Events

Tom signing books 200x150Children’s author, Tom Palmer, blogs about why he is so pleased to be part of the Reading Force Roadshow.

There is no way I could have written my Rugby Academy series of books without the help of the children and teachers at Albrighton Primary School and the RAF Cosford base where many of those children’s parents are based.

My problem was I wanted to write books about children whose mums and dads were in the forces – but I knew nothing about what those children’s lives would be like. There was only one way I was going to be able to find out about their lives. And that was by meeting forces children and their parents.

Albrighton Primary set that up for me. They sat me down in their staff room with some of their RAF parents and – later – their children. I was able to listen to stories and think about things I could never have imagined. I’ll never forget that afternoon. The families I spoke to were honest and passionate about their lives, about the pros and cons of being forces families, the highs and the lows. Their sense of belonging to each other and their sense of duty to the rest of us.

One thing that stuck with me is the difficulties there are communicating with each other when the serving parents were away. Sometimes on the phone. Sometimes on Skype. It is hard to find the right time to talk – and hard to find the right things to talk about.

What do you say when you know your parent or partner might be in harm’s way and that they can’t tell you about it anyway? It is impossible to imagine. And imagining things is something I am supposed to be good at.

At around the same time I was working in Albrighton Primary School I read in a magazine about Reading Force, a charity that encourages forces children and parents to read together. I knew as soon as I read about them that we would work together.

I am very lucky. I have a job that means that I can read with my daughter four or five nights a week. Sitting with her. The other two or three nights I am away visiting schools and libraries. But in hotels, not in harm’s way. I know how lucky I am to see her most days and to be there with her and her mother most nights. We have a very easy relationship because I am there most of the time.   

This spring I will be teaming up with Reading Force to tour our Reading Force Roadshow to ten schools on or next to Army, Navy and RAF bases in the UK. From North Yorkshire to Plymouth. I’ll be joining Jim Sells – literacy guru and former Rifleman – to perform our Football Reading Game, then host a school fete with a literacy theme for forces families, where they will be able to sign up for Reading Force, to get reading tips and receive a free copy of one of my books.

The idea is to help the schools with the work that they already do to find even more ways for the children – and their parents – to enjoy reading for pleasure.

That I can help contribute like this is hugely satisfying for me. I am proud to be working with Reading Force because I admire the work they do very much. And I’ll be proud to be helping the ten schools to enthuse their pupils with their reading.

Tom Palmer is a children’s author. He is published by Barrington Stoke and Puffin Books. As well as working with Reading Force he is the Writer in Residence at the RAF Museums.


Reading Force is free to all Service families, Reservists, Veterans and their friends and family, at home and away.



My daddy’s away but he reads me a story every day…

  • Published in Events

SW bannertop 265x485A child being able to hear the voice of their parent who is posted away from home is very precious and helps them feel closer. Storybook Waves makes this happen by recording Royal Navy and Royal Marines parents reading a picture book story for their child.

Then a team of specially trained volunteers adds a soundtrack to make a personalised CD that the child can listen to over and over and whenever they want. Families who have made Storybook Waves CDs joke that they get listened to so much they are the only CDs to get worn out!

At Reading Force we’re big fans of the Storybook Waves CDs and so we’ve partnered up with the brilliant Storybook Waves team. From now on each Naval parent who records a Storybook Waves CD will be offered a free picture book and a Reading Force Little Ones scrapbook at the point of recording. Having a picture book, Storybook Waves CD, and scrapbook can enrich the child’s experience of the story and encourages them to share it with the rest of the family, at home or away.

Many Naval families have told us they found sharing books a great way to stay connected and feel closer. For example, Royal Navy Dad Jim Reed used Reading Force while he was away from home to keep in touch with his two young daughters. He wrote in an e-bluey, “I am missing you all so much but love hearing all your voices when we read together…Send me a video and I look forward to talking and reading with you on Skype soon. Love you my darling girls, from xDaddyx.”

Kristina WhaleI Nursery 265x170To celebrate this partnership author and illustrator of the Sir Charlie Stinky Socks series (a popular choice for Storybook Waves recordings), Kristina Stephenson, told the story of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and The Pirate’s Curse to the children of Little Whale Nursery, Portsmouth, with puppets, songs, and a giant book to boot!

Storybook Waves is free for all naval personnel who are deployed or away from home for a long time.

Reading Force is free to all Service families, Reservists, Veterans and their friends and family, at home and away.

Kristina WhaleI Nursery2 265x225We know from everything that families tell us that sharing stories helps them stay in touch, and so now, children can listen to their Storybook Waves CD, follow the story with the picture book, and fill in their Reading Force scrapbook.

Parents can record their Storybook Waves CD and receive a Reading Force scrapbook and picture book by contacting their local Chaplaincy or HIVE, or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Storybook Waves is run by the naval charity Aggie Weston’s, and this partnership is also generously supported by funding from the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity and Annington Homes Trust.


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