Posted on January 10, 2008 - by MG
It’s no surprise that it’s difficult. It’s an age where the reader’s appetite for story usually outstrips their ability to read or even understand the material themselves. They love books like “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” or “The Hobbit” but can’t possibly read them alone. But you also have to give them books they might be able to read alone, or else they might be content forever to listen to audiobooks or watch TV and skip the whole reading thing until it becomes unavoidable.
The age at which children learn to read, believe it or not, is the subject of great debate amongst those concerned with primary education. Some blame the UK system, in which children start school aged four, as the reason for lower literacy rates than some European counterparts. It seems that in countries where children don’t start proper structured schooling until age seven, they learn to read much faster and without the angst that some UK primary kids suffer.
Our older daughter, although finally a keen reader aged fifteen, fell into the read-it-to-me camp. Looking through her selection of books for 5-8, I can see why. It’s all classic fairy tales and Narnia, the odd Dr Seuss and several gorgeous picture books (mostly gifted by my lovely friend Dr. Ann Vernallis, whom we refer to affectionately as American-Ann). Very few books that she could hope to read alone, since she wasn’t one of those little Precocias who have a reading age 3 years above their age.
So for Daughter #2 we are making a more concerted effort. I have stacked her shelves with even more Dr Seuss. Another good one is Frog and Toad.
The latest triumphant discovery is the wonderful Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish. A Christmas gift from fellow parent Jessica at the primary school, Amelia Bedelia is a brilliant character that our daughter absolutely adored from the first reading. She’s a very literally-minded housekeeper, whose misunderstanding of instructions causes all sorts of trouble. But she is forgiven everything on account of her amazing baking skills.
Well, I never had an upset that I couldn’t resolve by baking the injured party a pie myself, so I know from experience that this woman is on to something. Nor could I remain angry at someone who baked me a yummy pie…sadly I’m the only baker in the family so far.
People think baking is easy. But it’s a love-thing. You have to devote hours and hours to the craft. As a teenager, every Sunday I’d…
But that’s another story. (It’s a good thing I have this blog. If I start a sentence with ‘when I was your age…’ my teenage daughter is out of the door yawning before I reach the end.)