I love reading. I remember my parents reading to me, and we in turn have always read out loud to our children. I remember discussing this with my Auntie over tea in her garden, well before I was married, and way before children. One thing she said especially struck a chord with me, and has influenced and I think, enriched my parenting. She told me that by reading aloud to children we can always read a stage ahead of that which they would read to themselves. She also encouraged reading out loud long after children can read on their own.
More recently I’ve read and listened to podcasts (readaloudrevival.com is a favourite, a companion especially this summer as I’ve been pulling out brambles in our overgrown garden) citing the many benefits of reading aloud to our children. But, thanks to my Auntie, snuggling on the sofa, or lying on a picnic mat with a good book and maybe something yummy to eat, has always been an important part of our lives. And, for an often tired mum, it demands much less effort than Lego, dolls or craft. It was one of the best pieces of (probably unintentional) parenting advice I was given!
I usually read to the boys and girls separately. Nowadays I only read to the boys at night time, when they are not too late to bed from other commitments. I’ve found it to be especially uniting this last year when Lanky Dude has been at college; it’s one thing we still do together, at the end of the day.
I read at bed time and during the day to the girls….though less so during the holidays as our days are full and they often seem to be later to bed.
During the holidays I try to find a book I can just about read to all of them. However, in practice, Sparkly Eyes does more wandering off than listening. I’ve also started using audible in the last few years. I try to pick a book which links in with somewhere we are going. So, we’ve had a couple of Aurthur Ransome books as we’ve visited the Norfolk Broads and the Scottish Islands. And this year we’ve listened to “Round the world in eighty Days” by Jules Verne.
I’ve just started reading “The Trumpet of the Swan” by E.B. White. (A readaloud revival suggestion). We obviously don’t have trumpeter swans in this country, but I noticed there were a pair at our nearest Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre. So, armed with a picnic, we piled into our van and set off. We were all tired from our various camping trips, and with the amount of squabbling and general crotchetyness going on, I did wonder if it was a step too far. However, as soon as we arrived, the peace of the place started to have its affect on us. And they had a giant Lego trail of wetland birds and animals which was fun.
We ate our lunch watching and listening to the trumpeter swans and reading the first chapter of the story. I’m looking forward to the rest!