Reading has always been an important and fun part of the day for us.
We’re lucky that our youngest two devour books with relish. Jenny is now able to pick up books and read them herself (or to Eve). Eve will ‘read’ a story she’s familiar with, or at least tell the story in her own words as she goes through the book.
They love visits to the library. There is genuine excitement from them when they get back to the house and discover new stories.
Moving On To Bigger Books
Santa brought Jenny a ‘big girls book’. This was a new thing. A proper book with chapters and not a picture story book.
The book, “The Christmasaurus” by Tom Fletcher (author, song-writer and member of McFly) was far too big to read in one sitting, so it was going to need a new approach. It was going to be read over a longer period of time, chapter by chapter.
The routine has become : Brush teeth; get into bed; get tucked into your duvet; recap what we heard the night before; read a chapter of the book; see any illustrations from that chapter.
I was surprised at how much the girls recalled from the night before. They remembered characters’ full names and detailed aspects of the plot. All four of us (girls, mum, dad) were together when the book was read, and all genuinely interested in what happened next.
It doesn’t hurt that the story itself is really good. While it covers some sensitive issues, like disability and bullying, it’s also a fantastical fun read, giving Dad lots of different characters to voice. There are rhyming elves, an unpleasant girl (the bully) and Santa himself to contend with. Again, the girls were greatly amused. There’s also the odd cliff hanger which sets the story up perfectly for the next night.
The ‘chapter a night’ approach has opened up a whole new world of books for our children. It’s fostering their love of books and moving it on to the next stage. It also makes for a wonderful, wind-down family activity at the end of the day.
I don’t see bedtime family reading going away for a very long time!