Do you remember the first book you read all by yourself?
We have reached something of a milestone in our household. My youngest has just begun reading on his own. He is six years old and has been reading per se for a while now, but this week has been the first time he has picked up a paperback book and asked to read it independently at bedtime.
It is an event which is tinged with some sadness for us poor parents. For the first time in nine and a quarter years (the age of my older daughter), we may no longer be required to perform the ritual of the bedtime story. Part of me rejoices in this idea – now I can make dinner for my husband and I in peace!! But another chunk is wistful. It is a wonderful thing to snuggle up with your child at the end of the day and get to read out all those fabulous kids books that you loved during your own childhood. And all the great new ones too. You can get away with putting on all the silly voices and trying to inject as much drama into the story as possible and your audience will always be listening with rapt interest, hanging onto your every word.
Where else in life can you experience such a thing? Certainly not in my career as a secondary school teacher, that’s for sure! By that age, if you put on a funny voice, most kids just think you’ve lost your marbles.
On the other hand, the time has come to move on. For my son, he is ready to experience the untold joys of getting lost in the pages of a good book. It is a pleasure that is priceless. My little boy tends to prefer factual books and my daughter loves comedic novels, but I’ve learnt that their tastes tend to change as they grow and develop. There is so much out there for them to read and so many new mediums in which they can enjoy books. This means there is a whole new world for them to experience.
For my son, he is just about to embark upon an an incredible and lifelong journey.
By the way, the book he picked up was ‘Blitzed Brits’ from the Horrible Histories series by Terry Deary.