You do this already. Of course you do. You wouldn't be here otherwise. But January marks new beginnings, and in the world of Proper Blogs that means new memes and campaigns to run year long and whilst I'm not a great meme-r one that seems worth bringing to your attention is this one, initiated by Read it Daddy: Read it Mummies and Daddies 2013.
His call to arms to reinforce the benefits and pleasure of reading aloud to your kids is already gathering some online momentum and generating interesting discussion. Yesterday book blogger par excellence Child-led-Chaos aka Anne-Marie disclosed her true dislike of reading aloud to her children in a really interesting and moving post. Loving books is not the same as loving reading them out of course.
This was a new insight to me;as both a natural show off and a natural slob- reading to my children is my idea of a PERFECT activity: I can sit down and eat biscuits whilst doing it. It involves no hoovering up of glitter or sluicing down of mud afterwards. Nobody is going to lose an eye with a stick. I get to perform to a captive audience with limited life experience to criticise. As far as they're concerned my Yorkshire accent is excellent for instance. ha.
I am not going to rehash all the benefits of reading to children or surrounding them with books; as I say I feel that would be preaching to the converted here and this will return to being a place to thrash out which books might be worth reading. HOWEVER... a few things I would like to share as I lend my endorsement (for what it's worth) to Read it Daddy's excellent campaign.
Firstly- in complement really to Anne-Marie's post- you may actually be keen to read aloud to your child but not all children are keen to be read to. My lovely Eddie is a case in point here. Having taught himself to read at a tender age he likes it to be a solitary activity and is extremely resistant to having me read to him now. I have to sneak books in by stealth; sitting near by, starting to read, having him say 'No Stop Reading That!' once or twice and then banking on him being drawn in despite himself to listen and enjoy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't; it's a pretty stark test of a book's power I can tell you. Yesterday 'Leon and the Place Between' by Angela McAllister illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith passed that test in spectacular fashion. I won't name and shame the others that fell flat. I still think it's important to keep reading to him despite his resistance or his repetoire can become a little fixed.
Eddie may take it to extremes but I've known a few children who just couldn't sit for a story. Read them anyway say I as they're busy with other stuff and eventually, if the story's good enough, they'll come.
Secondly- don't stop just because they can read (sorry Anne-Marie!)(although audio CDs rock too). My own best read it Daddy, read to me from the end of my bed for many years past the age where I had my own books on the go too. He favoured a whisky and oatcake over the tea and biscuits but I still have his voice in my head as I read the same books to my children. Reading to older children is to my mind even more rewarding than reading to your littlies; albeit exercising the same skills. You can unpeel complex stories together, discover new language and share a quiet communion or a proper giggle together. They have the sense of you valuing and enjoying the story as much as them which makes you both feel good; especially if it's new to you too. Plus they're getting big and bolshy at other times; talking books brings you back together.
The Little Wooden Horse is proud to neigh keep reading to your children in 2013.
But you knew that anyway.