Yesterday was World Book Day, and whilst I was struggling to hit my word count deadline, it was lovely to hear that The Beast was writing stories “just like you” at school. (I have a feeling he was probably more successful than me yesterday).
As I constantly harp on about it, books and stories have always been a huge part of my life, even as a child if I wasn’t reading books to myself, writing stories, I was probably involving them in my games. I often remember reading books to my teddies and dolls, or even recreating my own Famous Five adventures (I’m sure I always told you that I thought Ann had it sussed – boil a few eggs, crack open a ginger beer, and sit and watch the world go by while the others went out and defended the law. Although sometimes I’d switch to George when I thought the cat was about long enough to pin down and be Timmy).
When I was pregnant with The Beast, as soon as I was able to start buying things I started to collect books which I’d loved either as a child or that my nephews had loved. The Hungry Caterpillar, Peace at Last, even going as far as hunting out old copies of Goodnight Moon and Huff the Hedgehog, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, My Naughty Little Sister and for later dates anything by Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton. Images of sitting down snuggled up in his room getting lost in adventures, or talking about midnight feasts at boarding school (totally prepping him for if he continues to be horrible) firmly becoming fixed in my mind whenever I got sad about him growing out of the baby stages.
As hard as I tried he wasn’t quite as “in” to stories as I’d hoped, his attention span limited to a very fast version of Bear Hunt or or some of the new books we discovered (anything by Julia Donaldson – who in a recent survey came out third in “your child’s favourite fictional author” following J K Rowling, Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl). The Chunky Monkey on the other hand, has been absorbed in books from day one, and can now recite all the words to Barry the Fish with Fingers, The Gruffalo and any of the hundreds of books spread about the house. Once I tried to contain them in a bookcase, however slowly but surely they are on every surface and every floor.
Now The Beast is in Year One he’s finally started to appreciate reading, admittedly when I asked him why it was his favourite part of school (I WAS THRILLED) he responded with “Coz you just get to sit and talk don’t you?” *bangs head on table*, but he’s progressing, showing an interest, taking books to bed, and when he’s meant to be sleeping I can’t be mad because he’s blending his Spider-Man annual, or pretending to read books with characters he remembers (Horrid Henry), and whilst without meaning to, he is now sucked into the whole Harry Potter world (which in the same survey came out on top as a child’s favourite fictional character), I am gagging to get him to read a bit of Julian, Dick, George and Anne, because I know his sense of adventure will mean that he becomes absorbed, even though I’ve heard people suggest that the language is a little old fashioned, I think we can work around that.
So I’ve started my manipulation tactics, which are really quite simple.
1. I’ve put all my favourite books on the top shelf of the book case
2. I’ve mentioned they’re for grown up boys, who are usually about eight.
3. Tell him he’s not big enough to read them
4. Tell him that Louis from One Direction likes reading them on his tour bus
5. Bought some of the Audio Books so that he can start to imagine the characters in his head so that when we read it together he can get sucked in.
I have a feeling I won’t have to work so hard on The Chunky Monkey as I caught him reading my copy of Mel Sherratt’s “Somewhere to Hide” not so long ago…
How do you encourage your children to read?
Survey results provided by fancydressball.co.uk