Those of you who know me know that I am a passionate, obsessive reader. Novels, non-fiction, the newspaper review section and, increasingly, blogs. Sometimes I read so much I get eye-strain, but like a smoker who ignores a nasty cough and carries on getting pleasure from their cigarettes, I ignore headaches and burning eyes because of the sheer joy of reading.
And this is not the first time I’ve blogged about Lily’s and Katie’s experiences with reading. But to see them every day with books in their hands probably brings me even more pleasure than reading for myself. To see a whole world of adventure and fantasy, of love and joy and hope and empathy opening up in front of them as they turn the pages of books makes my heart swell.
Lily’s reading skills have developed so quickly in the past few months. I still find it hard to believe that back around Christmas, although she seemed to like reading, she tired and lost interest quickly. These days there’s no stopping her.
What fills me with so much excitement this week is that Lily is reading her first chapter book. It took a little convincing for her to read it. Because the book had chapters and very few pictures, she thought it was a far too grown-up book for her. But I knew it was about her reading level and eventually she agreed to ‘try’ the first page. That’s all it took. She was hooked. She reads a few pages every night in bed and some days I’ve found her quietly sitting on her bed, engrossed in the goings on of Amber and the other fairies in her book! She’s a little over half-way through.
Katie has been resistant to learning to read. She would listen to stories being read to her all day long, and will happily sit looking at the pictures in her books. But she’s made a determined effort up to now to not learn to read. We haven’t pushed it. We know that would get us nowhere. But the other evening, after dinner, Katie suddenly announced ‘Mummy, I’d like to read a book now’, and for the first time we sat down together with a beginner reading book and read the story together.
Of course there’s an ulterior motive to my encouraging them to read. The more they read their books, the more time I’ll have to read my books!!