06/07/2009 08:47 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Make Your Own Story Time Cushion

Just a few minutes reading with your child each day can help their own reading come on in leaps and bounds, whatever their age.

If yours struggle to sit still for reading, making a special cushion together just for storytime could be your secret weapon.

Here's how...

1. Get a pure wool jumper from the charity shop.

2. Put the jumper in a pillow case, tie a knot in the top, and put it in the washing machine

3. Wash at 40 degrees with detergent. When it comes out it should be a bit smaller and fluffier than when it went in. If not, wash it again at 50.

4. If it comes out rock hard pulling and stretching will soften it a little but don't try to work miracles. It will compost so give it a gardening friend and start again.

5. Dry flat then iron.

6. Because of the felting (washing) process the wool won't unravel around the edges when you cut into it.7. To cover an existing cushion, measure the one you're covering and cut two squares of the same size. Sew up three sides of your new case, squash the cushion inside, and sew up the last side.

8. To make a cushion from scratch, cut two shapes exactly the same and sew all the way around but leaving a 5cm gap before joining back up where you started off. Fill the cushion with stuffing making sure to push it into all the corners. Sew up the remaining 5 cm.

*If you can't sew, hole punch around the outsides and thread ribbons through instead.
* Decorate your cushion by sewing on any embellishments while the sides are still flat, it's easier than sewing onto the finished item.
* Handmade doesn't have to mean scrappy looking - make it chic or playful by choosing a colour that compliments the room or your child's interests, and don't be in too much of a rush.
* Get all the ribbons, decorations, buttons and stuffing you need at your nearest market or search online for 'haberdashery'
* Find out more about helping your child learn to read at the National Literacy Trust

Other relevant posts:
Best books for confident readers
Encouraging reluctant readers
Too busy for storytime