A picture speaks a thousand words. Today I walked into the sitting room, suspicious as to why it was so quiet in there… Found this:
I can’t bear to even look how long it’s been since my last post. Due to overcommitment and sleeplessness, I no longer even aim to blog.
However, when I read what follows, I wanted to share this lovely message from children’s author and illustrator, Anna Dewdney, who sadly died on Saturday. I still, somehow, manage to get into my daughter’s school to read with some of the children there and I think Anna’s words sum up why I believe it’s so important, despite my clear capacity bottleneck:
“When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language,” she wrote. “We are doing something that I believe is just as powerful, and it is something that we are losing as a culture: by reading with a child, we are teaching that child to be human. When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.”
I met up socially with my daughter’s old nursery teacher a couple of days ago. Whilst we didn’t speak much about the Monkeyface, one of the teacher’s first sentences to me was “I hear the Monkeyface is doing fantastically with her reading…” It’s true, she is.
Later that day, another friend came over to try figure something out on WordPress with me (I know, that’s funny, right… My blogging is now so intermittent I’m almost a born-again interweb-Virgin.) The two things happening on the same day made me realise, with a jolt, just how much the Monkeyface has achieved. When I think how hard it was to read to her as a baby, how difficult I found it. What a failure I felt. And then to get her to read.! Looking back, it just takes a heap of tenacity and time (which back then was In short supply!) look at her now! She’s a voracious reader, with a reading age almost double her age. Just yesterday, she read 8 books. 8! She’s 5!
Part of the difficulty with blogging is that, well we just aren’t able to read as many books with her these days – because she’s the one who wants to read! That’s insane. Well, actually, perhaps not.
I’m so jealous of her intake.
Later than I should have, but way earlier than I did last time, I’ve started reading to my baby son. Astonishingly, I’m finding it so much easier to cope with the silent witness, the book-eating, the snatching away of the book and the interest in just turning one page back and forth. I find it embarrassing really, how hard I found that with my daughter. Truly, what did I expect a baby or toddler to do? Sit in awe of my every word? Well, yes, I actually did. Ego, much?
I still can’t handle the 5 page cloth books with nothing but pictures on. Perhaps I lack imagination. But we’ve jumped straight in with Peepo, simply because Monkeyface and I had our first productive reads with Each Peach Pear Plum by the same authors. So, the books are special. I did want to keep some of my reading journey with Monkeyface special though, which is why I’ve tried to start with different books. Certainly, the fact that MF has come so far so successfully on her learning journey has filled me with confidence with the little man. He is his own person, however. It’s going to be exciting to see where this leads.
So much to say, but a picture says a thousand words. So proud of my readers.
I’m sorry for the smug parent post. I try not to behave as though she’s the smartest child on the planet because I know academic progress at this stage is so arbitrary: kids’ development turns on a sixpence. I just want to celebrate this enormous progress and Em’s achievement. This blog only exists because reading together was initially so hard. If you’re struggling with a child who can, but won’t, I hope this inspires you to keep going.