Thursday, August 6, 2015

"The pleasure of being read to" - A ReaditDaddy Editorial

So what happens when your child turns the tables on you and you are now the attentive listener, while they read to YOU rather than the other way round? A random musing on learning to listen...
I'll admit it, I'm not a good passenger and I think this is why I've always traditionally been a godawful listener too. I actually don't mind driving but if someone else is behind the wheel and I'm a passenger I spend most of my time with my feet braced solidly against the floor, clutching the seatbelt for dear life.

When Charlotte learned to read, I spent a lot of time hearing but not listening and the subtle difference between nodding approval or actually helping by listening and gently correcting is slowly sinking in.

Last night, Charlotte dug out some of her favourite books and curled up on the sofa with me to read. Maintaining the momentum for reading during the school holidays is really tough but utterly essential, as all the usual routines go out of the window, bed-times are later, and there are moments in the day when both my wife and I struggle to keep our busy girl occupied and definitely struggle to keep up with reading, writing, piano and other things we fit in around school, work and lord knows what else.

Charlotte had selected "Barbapapa" - the original storybook, and read with a lovely animated voice as she relayed the tale of everyone's favourite gigantic shape shifter. She's loved the reprints by Orchard ever since they dropped through our letterbox and they're regular reads.

She also read "That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown" and again her reading was full of character and 'performance' and it was at this point I realised that I actually preferred to hear her read it to me rather than reading it to her.

It reminded me why we do what we do and how different her book journey has been to my own. I was always a solitary reader and though my mum always actively encouraged my love of books and fed it with as many books as she could afford on her own meagre income, at Charlotte's age I would disappear with chapter books and find somewhere quiet to consume them (usually all in one go if I could get away with it!)

Perhaps this is where it stems from, this 'being a bad passenger' business - because I'd always flown solo with books until Charlotte was born and the huge change takes a lot of getting used to. It's still a genuine pleasure to read to her and obviously we still read a huge volume of books together (and never miss a bedtime story opportunity unless it's mummy's turn as it is every other night as we take it in turns) but it just struck me last night how great it is to have someone sharing the driving and being able to sit in the driver's seat - or reader's nook now Charlotte is older.

1 comment:

James (Magpie That) said...

My two are still in that, ripping pages, chewing book stage. I don't want to wish my life away, but I look forward to those days.