Recently in one of my clubs with a group of reception children, the story stone asked us, “What was the last book you read?” Everyone looked a bit flummoxed and sheepish and it turned out that only a few of them could read well enough to read by themselves.
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So we changed the question to, “What was the last book that someone read to you?” Suddenly, a host of super smart children and a flurry of hands desperate to tell me! So after I’d heard a few which ranged from The Hungry Caterpillar to James and the Giant Peach and all the way to The Hobbit, I asked whether they felt that if the book had been read to them, they hadn’t read it themselves? Discussion ensued! Some were adamant that it didn’t count unless they had read it completely by themselves, but others thought that hearing the story and seeing the pictures was reading it. One boy told me very sweetly that if he’d seen the story in his head then he felt like he’d read it.
I think I would agree with that. At their age, I think being read to is equally as important as teaching them to read themselves. If we, as the readers, can inspire a hunger for words and stories then the children we read to can say confidently that they’ve read the books they’ve listened to. Because one day soon that hunger will turn shapes on a page into letters and words and we’ll find them hiding under the covers with a torch and a book after lights out. And they won’t forget the books we read them. I remember vividly all the books from my childhood despite the fact I probably only ever actually read a handful of them by myself and reading them again now I am older, I found that I hear my Dad’s voice in my head rather than my own!
So, readers and listeners, keep reading!