WHEN Katherine Reed’s husband Jim was deployed for seven months in 2012, the mum-of-two was determined the family would remain in close touch while separated.

So when a Reading Force scrapbook was sent home from then-eight-year-old daughter Ellie-May’s school, she embraced the idea.

“When I saw the scrapbook I thought it was brilliant,” Katherine explains. “It’s a lovely, well put-together  book. There is some structure, which is great for the kids, and other pages where you’re free to put in what you want.”

The family chose to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Although Rosie was just one, she loved listening to her mum and sister read aloud.

Katherine emailed passages of the book to Jim so he could read the same pages as his family at home.

He was then able to use FaceTime to read passages to Ellie-May, with his daughter sometimes returning    the favour.

READING1Taking part together 

Katherine believes the scheme helped her children to have a routine when their dad was away, adding: “It was a great thing to keep their dad in their lives. Being away for seven months is a massive ordeal.”

The family was also encouraged to write more regularly, with Katherine appreciating the opportunity to keep the resultant letters from Jim, some of which were stuck into the scrapbook alongside a family photograph, drawings and writing about the book.

The Reeds’ colourful scrapbook won a prize of a family ticket to Paulton’s Park in the Reading Force competition.

Making memories 

“I keep a memory box for both of my children,” says Katherine. “We’ve put the scrapbook in Ellie-May’s box and this year, when Jim was away  again, we did one on a Peppa Pig book because Rosie loves them.

“I’ve told friends about Reading Force, but we didn’t realise every Service family can take part – they can!

“It is a good thing for any family to do and I would recommend it!”

Put reading at the heart of your family

  • Taking part in Reading Force is free for all Armed Forces, Reserves, Cadets, ex-Service children, families and friends 
  • Wider family and loved ones can take part too, girlfriends, boyfriends, grandparents and parents of children in the Armed Forces
  • Whether your loved ones are at home or away, all can get involved 
  • It’s fun and easy to do
How do we take part?
  • Get your free special scrapbook from your local school or HIVE, or email hattie@readingforce.org.uk 
  • Choose a book all your loved ones will enjoy reading
  • All read the book, together or separately, and talk about it
  • Fill the scrapbook with everyone’s thoughts about the book
  • Include anything you want – e-blueys, letters, photographs, drawings, notes 
  • Enter the Scrapbook Competition by 25 April 2014 and you could win a great prize (all scrapbooks are returned)
  • All entries receive a certificate and win a book
  • For loads of info and ideas, log on to  www.readingforce.org.uk


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