Friday 7 June 2013

#ReaditMD13 "Celebrating brilliant dads who write, draw and star in books" - Guest post from Simon "Dwaine Pipe" Tuck

Best bit of the day for dads? You betcha!
Why read to your children?

A very grandiose title and topic for my debut blog I’m sure you’ll agree but as I always dive in with both feet when I attempt anything new, fasten your seatbelts because here we go.

Being a father of two I understand the importance of reading to and with children. This understating has been formed by two elements. The first is my love of reading and the second is…a secret for the next few paragraphs. To begin with I’d like to explain why I read. Now if you thought the title of the blog was pretentious wait till you get a load of this next question

What is reading?

Ooooooh we’ve started something now! There are a lot of definitions in the dictionary. All of which describe the mechanical action of reading written text. None of these descriptions come close to my interpretation of reading.

For me reading isn’t an activity it’s a place. It’s a place that you discover when you read your first book. It is your place and yours alone. It’s a place that demands that you never grow up. That you never stop being amazed by life. Stories are the doorways to this place and, if you let them they will fill this place with the most amazing experiences you can imagine. In this place a books text dissolves in front of my very eyes and I’m no longer reading but watching and listening. I can hear the author. I can see their characters. I can feel their world. I am standing next to them ready to face their adventure with them. My emotions are on high alert in anticipation of the next page turn.

This is reading. Now you can begin to see why I read to my kids. I want them to build a place of their own and experience more than I ever have. This leads nicely on to the secret ingredient that led to my true understating of why people read to their children. Imagine being the person who unlocks the door to that place for the first time. Imagine being the person who inspires another to step through the door and build their own adventures. Imagine sharing all that with someone who has never experienced it before and bingo, you understand why it’s important to read to children.

They need a key. They need a key to unlock these stories and be able to pass through them into their place. You are that key.

That was my experience of reading to my children and why my writing became more than just a hobby. I want to share this experience with other parents and their children through my stories.

As you can see I have a talent for the overly dramatic however there are some very serious points behind my ramblings. Over the past two years my work has been utilised by local schools with my picture book manuscripts used to assist in literacy classes and creative writing courses for young children. This first hand interaction with the schools has really brought home to me the lack of reading by parents in general with their children let alone the terribly low percentages of fathers.
The fact that fathers are missing out on this life shaping activity with their children really struck a chord with me and I’ve been developing a series of picture book manuscripts specifically focused on encouraging father and child reading time. The “My Dad” series is this point unpublished but with OPERATION ENTICE AN AGENT / PUBLISHER in its opening gambit hopefully that will change very shortly and the books will find an audience. There’s also less dad centric stories such as my balloon based adventure and they story of a boy building a robot. Just in case I was too subtle there that was a shameless bit of self promotion on the off chance any agents or publisher just so happened to be perusing this fine site. All joking aside if anyone would like anymore information or if my manuscripts could help get parents and children reading please get in touch. Here endeth the self promotion sermon!

Back to the topic in hand. When I first discovered the shockingly low statistics mentioned above I was genuinely worried about the future and the next generation. And then I stumbled upon Read It Daddy and all you wonderful folks who read, blog and share your thoughts on how wonderful reading to your children.

So I’d like to end my debut blog on a very positive note. To Phil and Charlotte and all the other parents out there who take time out from their busy day to sit and read to their children. Treasure every moment and remember that you are the inspiration for the next generation of best selling authors and for that you have my thanks.


Simon Tuck is the author of "Dwaine Pipe - Would you eat that?" and is currently penning his next masterpiece.