Thursday, 12 September 2013

Parents aren't reading to their kids anymore... really?

In the news today, they're saying parents aren't reading to their kids. I always wonder if they surveyed parents of 14 year old 'children' because all the parents I know DO read to their kids - they didn't ask many of us then!

As a child, I was never into Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton or Dr Seuss. I wasn’t what you would call a big reader, I didn't like ‘fantasy’ or anything that required too much imagination.  I only really liked stories about everyday things; Dennis the Menace, the Sweet Valley High series and ‘Are you there God, it’s me Margaret’ that sort of thing. That was until I discovered poetry and limericks and learnt what a simile was. I found this love my Mum took us to the library - regularly, where I wandered, discovered, borrowed and learnt to explore literature that way instead. 

2008 - when Little was just a bump!
Secretly though, I wanted to be swept into alternate universes and feel the story and when it comes to Little Miss O, I don't want her to miss out. My good friend planted the seed at our baby shower back in 2008 when she gave us all manner of books to start Little's library - and she hasn't stopped since. This has been supported by lots of  our family and friends too. Little's library is growing. So, much like her unofficial GodMother, Little is a girl who loves reading - everything from road signs, ingredients lists, magazines, books and even my text messages! And much like myself, she loves being in the library.

Little Miss O in 2008 - starting early!
From day one, we’ve snuggled up together to read, gone to story time at the library, borrowed books etc. At first I would read other people's blog posts to her (before she was old enough to understand!), then she gained interest in her touch and feel books; anything I was reading, I read to her. Little has always been interested in books and turning the pages.

Birthday Fun!
This year, Little chose Eric Carle's 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' theme for her birthday. The kids ate the food that the Caterpillar ate and decorated their cupcakes, it was really cute. Little just loves stories and her new favourite pastime is reading to her baby sister. It’s amazing and it makes me feel proud and encouraged that maybe (just maybe) we're doing something right.

For any parents who aren't into reading (yet)- I get it! One thing I've learnt is that reading to my children is sooooooo much more fun than reading to myself :) You can use different voices (be careful because if you use the Gruffalo's voice at the wrong time, they will notice and rock your flow! I went in to read to Little's friends at nursery once and the anticipation on their faces as you turn the page was just adorable!

I feel that with reading, it opens up a world to her that exists outside of her own, it opens up space for us to spend time together, quietly which every Mum surely craves for(!)

Now that we're starting again from scratch on this parenting ride with Mini Miss O, I'm finding myself reflecting on the things I wish I hadn't done with Little or the things I wish I could have done more of. I'm also looking at the things I'm proud of too and fostering a love of reading and thirst for knowledge is something I'm really proud of. 

I guess we'll do just the same with Mini and see how it goes for her.

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