Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Born to read

I know that I don't blog about reading much, but I am passionate about books.  You'd know that if you came to my house anytime.  There are books under the stairs, a whole wall full of books in the office, a shelf in the sitting room, a stash by my chair in there as well, a huge bookshelf in the EFG's room which is half mine and half hers, there are shelves full of my ministry books in the spare room, and then there are heaps by my bed.  The YFG has a small shelf in her room, and there are several shelves and boxes full in the garage.  We love books, and we girls love to read.  We read stories, biographies, non-fiction and instructional texts, the lot.  The FH is more selective, and prefers "true" books so he sticks to non-fiction and biographies of his heroes like Fred Dibnah.

(image from en.wikipedia.org)

I grew up with the Magic Faraway Tree [one of my little friends regularly turned up at fancy dress parties as the Saucepan Man], the Enchanted Wood, the Secret Seven and the Famous Five, and I moved on to Nancy Drew and her colleagues, the detective brothers whose name escapes me.  I loved To Kill A Mockingbird when we did that for GCSE and I laboured my way through Shakespeare, found Virginia Woolf a bit strange, but Willa Cather more readable.  Now I read for pleasure most of the time and enjoy the wild delights of Lee Child, Debbie Macomber, Miss Read, Sarah Morgan, Trisha Astley, Nora Roberts, Jane Green, Katie Fforde, Alexander McCall Smith, Stephenie Meyer, Elizabeth Chadwick and Phillipa Gregory.
(image from theguardian.co.uk)

I can't imagine not being able to read, to escape, to investigate, to discover, to love, to laugh, to enjoy and to find out, to travel and to imagine - reading opens so many doors, it takes my breath away.  I have learned so much by being able to read, and through reading, I have discovered so many more opportunities.  I am obviously one of the lucky ones.

(image from waterstones.co.uk)

The EFG learned to read at school, with a lot of input from us at home, from an early age.  The YFG learned to read at home, and almost did it herself because we certainly didn't teach her in any structured way.  She didn't go to school until Year4, but she was reading well by then.  She read her first book to us one night at 11pm sitting on our bed, and she read it almost word perfectly.  I can't remember the exact book, but I know that our friends Biff and Chip from the Magic Key were up to something exciting.

You don't have to be rich to be able to access books.  There are wonderful libraries in most towns, and even here, where we have libraries available eight miles in each direction, we are blessed with a library bus in the village for over an hour twice a month, just like Frugal in Suffolk regularly posts.

Two things have happened this month to make me think about reading in a different light.  One was Merry's post about the reading experiences of the poorest children in the country, and the other was our Ofsted report.  The inspectors rightly recognised that parents are not having enough input into their children's reading development in some cases, and I think that that is so sad.  Spending time with a child, with a book on their lap, is such a special time, that the parent is missing out on so much as well as the child.  And, although I acknowledge what this Save the Children report has to say, I don't think that this lack is confined to the poorest children: plenty of wealthier parents still don't appreciate the impact of books and of reading in their child's life.

If any of you have ever watched Strictly Come Dancing, you will have seen the ending, where the presenters link arms and say, "Keeeeeep Dancing!" so I would like you to imagine that tone as I implore you to "Keeeeeeep Reading!"


SarahElisabeth Jones said...

I can't imagine life without books but remember my mother teaching adult literacy to someone who became really motivated to learn, in order, to help their child who was learning to read at school.
Sad when people who can read aren't motivated to help their children.

Wannabe Sybil said...

I agree so much. Bear had his first bedtime story read to him at six days old. We read to him still, but he reads to himself so much as well. I have stocked his room with plenty of books and I am in battle because he doesn't want to read school books, he wants to read about Doctor Who or an encyclopedia.
btw The Book People are online, inexpensive and do free delivery over £25. I will spend around £50 at Christmas and I will expect to get at least 30 books. I put their catalogues in the bin as soon as they arrive, though, as they are as bad as Lakeland! WS xxx

simplesuffolksmallholder said...

I love books - as you know- yet grew up in a home with very few. Neither Mum Or step dad read books. When I started work in a library at age 16 and began buying books with my pay my mum would TUT loudly. I got my love of books from primary school, the few my aunties bought me for christmas, the schools mobile library which we were allowed on, and the book we got every year at chapel anniversary prize. - THANK GOODNESS

Ciao said...

Was it the Hardy boys? Our house is stuffed with books too OH hardly reads now so I'm to blame, God Bless xx

Morgan said...

You are right, Ciao, it was the Hardy Boys - comes back to me now! Thank you for that xx

A Suffolk Girl said...

I read very similar books if you like Katie Fforde you might like Jill Mansell. I love reading something my husband doesn't do very often. My children also love reading and I love nothing better than giving them books or taking them to the library to choose new books.

Frugal in Bucks said...

You took me right back to being a child. Moon face, the slippery slip, silky and Mr Angry. Loved, loved, loved the magic faraway tree. X

Morgan said...

@ A Suffolk Girl - yes, I have read one or two Jill Mansell books :)

@ Frugal In Bucks - those books were great, weren't they? I read them to the girls too!