Duchess of Cornwall uses hand puppets at launch of campaign to get dads reading to children

08:07 22 February 2013

The Duchess of Cornwall holds a puppet character from the children

The Duchess of Cornwall holds a puppet character from the children's book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak at a reading session at West Greenwich Library. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire

The Duchess of Cornwall entertained children with hand puppets to launch a campaign urging dads to read to their children.

The Duchess of Cornwall meets father and daughter Kabir Miah and Shakira Begum, four, during a visit to West Greenwich Library in London. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA WireThe Duchess of Cornwall meets father and daughter Kabir Miah and Shakira Begum, four, during a visit to West Greenwich Library in London. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire

Camilla joined best-selling author James Patterson at the campaign launch at West Greenwich Library yesterday.

As a storyteller read the classic tale Where The Wild Things Are to the youngsters in West Greenwich Library, the Duchess shook the puppet during the dramatic moments.

The toy was a character from the story by Maurice Sendak about a little boy who travels to a magical land inhabited by fantastical creatures and becomes their king.

The Duchess also read the famous poem by AA Milne about changing the guard at Buckingham Palace.

The Duchess of Cornwall reads a poem to children at a reading session during a visit to West Greenwich Library. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA WireThe Duchess of Cornwall reads a poem to children at a reading session during a visit to West Greenwich Library. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire

Before she started, she joked with her young audience and their parents, telling them: “It’s a poem my father used to read to me - that was about 100 years ago.”

Camilla and Patterson had travelled to Greenwich to launch the Booktrust’s Get Dads Reading campaign.

The Duchess is the organisation’s patron, while the US thriller writer, who has sold more than 250 books worldwide, is a founding partner of a fund run by the Booktrust to get disadvantaged kids reading.

Patterson, who was also joined by his wife Sue, stressed that it was the responsibility of parents to encourage their children to read and not that of their school.

He said: “We are here to save lives, that’s my role, because if you cannot read your life will be severely disadvantaged.

“This is not about reading Charles Dickens or Shakespeare but learning to read with confidence and if you can do that you can make your way through school, college and work.

“If you cannot read you just look at school and think ‘This is hopeless’ and so you reject it. America is ahead in getting kids to read, the UK is behind America - something’s going wrong here.”

A poll by Opinium for Booktrust reveals that just 13 per cent of dads are the main reader with their child, with a quarter of fathers saying that the demand for them to work late means that they do not have time to read together more often.

Further research, commissioned by Booktrust from the Institute of Education, revealed through a series of in-depth interviews that many fathers see reading as a female domain.

When they do read to their children, fathers favour their daughters over their sons, reading to them for longer, and more often, the research found.

Commenting on the research, Viv Bird, Booktrust’s chief executive, said: “The most crucial thing for dads to understand is that if kids see their dads reading they’re more likely to enjoy it themselves.

“There is evidence that boys are slipping further behind girls in reading – and this emphasises how important it is that dads are positive role models to their sons as well as their daughters when it comes to reading.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Thursday, September 3, 2015
The accident happened on this junction yesterday morning (Photo: Google StreetView)

A man has died after he was hit by a lorry as he was walking by the junction of Lisson Grove and Church Road near Marylebone station yesterday.

Thursday, September 3, 2015
The sun setting behind the camp last night  (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

If you have been moved by the stories of refugees travelling across Europe to the camp in Calais and would like to help these people, here are simple things you can do.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Police would like to identify this man (Picture: Met Police)

A 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in broad daylight on a route 85 bus in Wandsworth and police are now appealing for help to find her attacker.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Sian Berry, who also stood as the Green Party London Mayoral candidate in 2008, has been chosen as the Green's 2016 candidate (Picture: PA Images)

Transport campaigner and arts-loving councillor Sian Berry has been selected as the Green Party candidate for London Mayor in 2016.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
A view of London including the 'ugliest building in the UK',  the Walkie Talkie (on the left) (Picture: PA Images)

The City of London skyscraper nicknamed the Walkie Talkie has won a bitter-tasting first prize in an annual competition to name the UK’s ugliest building.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get ready to take in the beautiful sights of London from above!

Are you always seeking unique ways to see your favourite city? This one is for you.

Read more
Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more