When I wrote “I Don’t Like Reading Aloud“, it was chiefly to highlight Read It Daddy‘s campaign and I didn’t expect the wonderful response and dialogue I received from admitting that actually, despite loving books, reading aloud can be something of a chore!
I hadn’t thought about the other side, of not wanting to listen to stories. Polly at Little Wooden horse shares how her son doesn’t like being read to, but she persists to expand his repertoire, something I can heartily approve of because I was her son! I learnt to read at a young age and have no memories of being read to other than by one amazing primary school teacher.
That is not to say I wasn’t read to. I was, throughout primary and secondary school, and certainly at home where books were almost literally part of the furniture. I just don’t have strong memories of this. Once I could read, I found it quicker so didn’t want to listen to someone else. I’ve never really listened to radio; I don’t particularly enjoy audio books.
My strongest memories of learning to read include being recorded at home and mispronouncing ‘oar’ as ‘oh-ar’ (it was the first time I’d come across the word); and struggling to explain (because I suffered from mutism at the time) that the picture I had drawn was Mr Small with a pin, not myself with a pin, and giving up in frustration when the teacher persevered in misunderstanding me. Otherwise, I just remember reading to myself and in my head.
The extent of my lack of aural patience came to me when thinking about online courses I have attempted recently. There are hundreds of free degree-level courses now available online, opening higher learning to people who may not have had the opportunity otherwise. Lasting from a few weeks to a few months they consist of video lectures and computer-marked or peer-reviewed assessments. Wonderful.
I’ve seriously attempted two of the courses. Having all the information relayed via video that you have to listen to because you can’t browse speech; having all information relayed at the same speed; having to set aside two hours per week to listen to information you might be able to digest in half an hour… I found it unbearable. I’d rather read a book at my own pace!
Books are part of daily life in the Chaos house. If a question appears, we can generally find a book that illustrates an answer. I will read aloud from whatever I’m reading (assuming there’s no swearing etc) if asked and snuggling with books, being read to (real or ‘made up’) or reading to is a habit on all but the most stressful parenting days.
MG and DG love being read to. This may have a lot to do with the fact that story time is usually just before bedtime so the more I read, the later they go to bed… However, I do also read whenever either of them grabs a book and asks, or at any point when some calming down is needed. MG will often prefer to write her own stories and read them whereas DG will crawl on my lap and demand the same book to be read half a dozen times in a row, especially when MG is at school and she has me to herself.
I have a tendency to
ignore encourage my children to discover their own creativity during the daytime, and enforce read more stories just before bedtime whether they want to watch ‘just one more’ episode of Scooby Doo or not. Sometimes both MG and DG will snuggle on either side of me, or both on my lap, and we’ll share a book together. Sometimes MG will be drawing while DG is snuggled with me; sometimes DG will be bouncing all over the bed while MG is snuggled with me; sometimes they’ll both wander off and I’ll wonder why I’m still reading!
But even when I think they’re not listening, they are really, and books I read to them come out in their conversations. So I must forget my own frustrations with audiobooks and play them for MG and DG. Another reading pledge for the year