To the Mum at the swimming pool last week: I saw you with your Kathy Reichs novel on your lap while your kids were having their lessons. Then I saw you swap your own novel for the one your tween daughter had been reading. I just wanted to say, YOU ROCK. I think that as parents we should all be reading at least some of the books that our children read. If not reading them, talking to the kids about them. Books are such an awesome way to get into our imagination. That means books can also be a HUGE influence on impressionable young minds – we need to be aware, as much as possible, of what is going in. You rock for giving up what was probably a precious 15 minutes of time with your own novel, to put your child’s well-being first.
I’m a huge book lover and forever trying to share that love with my children. My daughter, who shares my DNA, is already a bookworm at age seven. My boys are a mixed bag. They’ll do the mandatory homework reading. Then, depending on the day, read some more, swap a chapter book for a cartoon book or discard the pages and head for the Lego instead. Each to their own, they’re all reading some and that’s awesome in my eyes.
Having a seven-year old girl (with a strong reading ability), I do get sick of the magical fairy and princess stories that are available in abundance for her age group. But as someone pointed out to me, I used to read all sorts of similar things and eventually weaned myself off for a diet of much more interesting literature. We do talk about the stories and how princesses aren’t really real, not all boarding schools have magic and Barbie is very made up. I think Nat has a good grip on reality and to be fair, I like to escape into a trashy chick lit from time to time. Is that any different? In the meantime, I read to her at bedtime and we enjoy all sorts of fabulous books, mostly classics, that she loves and I love rediscovering with her.
The boys are harder. I’m new to raising boys so working out what books are appealing in general is a process, let alone what works for the three very different personalities of our boys! It’s been fun exploring a new side of the library with them – a world I wouldn’t have otherwise stepped into. Boy are they picky though! Nat and I will easily have a pile of books each within minutes, the boys will spend 45 minutes wandering around and be lucky to come out with one book each.
I do seem to have nailed it with Sam (8) and Enid Blyton – Secret Seven and Famous Five are holding his attention.The older two like adventure, and James (14) leans toward Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I’m never sure about this, we’re a family of faith so stepping into something so different, for me, is wobbly territory. But as with the Princesses and Nat, I chat with the boys about what is realistic (and not) and how we frame this with what we do know and believe. As with everything, it is their call in the end but I sure will try to influence where I can for as long as I can!
Tom (12) has, in the last year, discovered an absolute love for reading. You can imagine how happy this makes me! He knows the types of books he likes to read and will enthusiastically tell me the latest plot lines and character developments. Really, I LOVE this! He was quite concerned this week that he had started but not been able to get into a number of books. Readers block perhaps? We talked about a few titles he might not have tried yet and I think he’s off into one of them.
Do you read the books your children are reading? Or read online reviews? Or even try to influence what your kids are working their way through? I’d be especially keen to hear any ideas for boys!
Which reminds me, I need to take some books back to the library…..