When was the last time you read a good book? by @HeadteacherJMS

"Children only read if they have grown up being read to and where books are part of their home"

For me, reading is my most selfish pleasure.  It requires silence, no phone, no iPad, no TV, no music; it means banishing my very patient children and highly supportive husband for a solid half hour of uninterrupted, but much needed, solitude.  Such time is hardly sympathetic to the stresses and strains of modern working families, so gadget rich and time poor.

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Sarah Brinkley and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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Ignoring the familiar ping as an email lands is a tricky thing, like Pavlov’s dog I salivate at the sound – do I answer it and look super-efficient, or wait and emit a healthy glow of work life balance and calm?  It’s always the first.  A fellow Head said to me he never answers a weekend email until Sunday evening.  Is he mad or brilliant?  I’ll let you decide.

In a fast paced world of immediate gratification, reading requires patience and calm.  It is the antidote to modern living, where cost and quick solutions appear all.  Reading a good book can remove you from normality and place you firmly in the world of your choosing.  A really good book cannot be put down, wraps you in its arms and mops at the brow of the ordinary, easing your mundane burden; bliss.

So how is it that something so pleasurable, has come to be, for some, such a chore?  How are we to pass on the gift of reading (proven to have a positive influence on grades – the more you read the better the outcome) to the touchpad generation?

The brutal truth is, children only read if they have grown up being read to and where books are part of their home.  In my family there were bedtime favourites – ‘The Tiger who Came to Tea’, ‘We’re Going on a Bearhunt’ – the lines of which are engraved on my heart for the hours spent with bath warm children and their well-thumbed teddies reciting, ’We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it …we have to go through it!’ their delighted squeals and eyes alive with the magic of familiarity.

As our children get older we have to keep up with them, read a book they have read, take an interest, and make an adventure out of the library or a visit to a bookshop.  Reading must never be used as a punishment, ‘That’s it, no TV; you will have to read a book!’  My daughter loves to read but my sons do not, much to my disgust.  We have built in ‘no tech time’, just an hour, where the board games and books are favoured, and once my 13 year old and I just lay on beanbags and sang along to music at the top of our lungs.  We talk about the books we are reading and share good titles, anything to establish the joy of a good book.  My husband has an aversion to E books and the dreaded ‘K’ word is forbidden in our house, but does it really matter?  If your child reads, they read.  They don’t have to get a kick from the turn of a page because we old people do!

Our children’s love of reading needs nurturing like the children themselves.  Remember that.  They are not born with the desire to do so, it needs to be fed and watered as they do.  Show them how to do it next time you have the chance, I dare you; turn off your phone, politely excuse yourself from the TV and lie down and read – you may find they curl up next to you.

 Featured Image Source: By Simon Booth-Lucking on Flickr under (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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