Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Reading to older children & teens

This isn't something I'd have really insisted upon, had a stay at home Dad friend not regularly told me that he reads to his 16 year old daughter and her siblings.  Really?  I thought...yeah - knowing him, that's going to be the case.  And he's not going to be reading the Beano.  So...bearing this in mind and on the insistence of my 10 year old that he'd like a story, I wondered what to read.  It's easy to go back to Enid Blyton but to tell the truth, we both knew that the Island of Adventure wasn't going to cut it for us this time.  An evening reading and old Thomas the Tank Engine book broke me, and though I'm sure we'll still read dear old poorly written Thomas & Friends from time to time.  Why avoid something that gives so much happiness to a child?  Other than for my own sanity of course.  We need to move on.

We have two kids, aged 13 and 10.  Neither of them are slouches when it comes to reading.  Z, the new teengager, had books for his birthday - and R...well...where IS his school reading book even?  Apart from a frantic few weeks about three years ago where he went head to head with his brother to read the entire Harry Potter series, he's not read much - other than old favourites like Horrible Histories and a couple of Railway Detective books, which I'm told had the proper C word in.  Oops - and thanks Grandma.

So, where to begin.  A few googles on the loo and last thing at night in bed started me off nicely - not to mention putting me to shame and enthusing me all over again about my own reading possibilities.  The difficulty is persuading the kids to listen to Mum.  Mums aren't cool you see, and thanks perhaps to social ideas of mum's intelligence, a year spent chemically lobotomised (notice the big gap in the blog?  Don't do SSRI's folks - they'll screw you up) and the small detail that after getting them to do the things they need to do to be human, there isn't much time to be a cool and intelligent role model.  Burning tea last night didn't help my case.

So...at a time way past their bedtime, my mission to move them up a reading notch began.  They're not really sheltered kids in terms of TV/Media so hopefully they'll still sleep well.  Okay...I am looking after a small cuddly monkey today whilst R goes to school BUT I trust that this is down to the everyday social horror of school - not HP Lovecraft.  Yep, we started on the Necronomicon.  Hell, I want to read more of it myself and it turns out that it's an utter pleasure to read aloud.  Occasional references to the nether and other minecraftian things also bolster my case that Mum is to be listened to where books are concerned. 

And I hope we'll move on, through bookshelves that would have made me POP with delight as child.  No stunting for them with a tiny bookshelf and rereads of the stupidly expensive gender appropriate books from rare trips to WH Smiths.  Perhaps a few worries might crop up and - eventually - the embarrassing stumbling through a forgotten sex scene (we will laugh and read it in a funny voice most likely).  Or perhaps they'll save me the horror and pick up the reading baton themselves and our bookshelves will ravaged and my books will be strewn around the house.  Time will tell.