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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Reading Together

One of the problems with encouraging your child to read a book is that you may feel the need to read the book yourself. How can you entertain a stimulating discussion with your child if you know nothing about the book?

“Well dear, did you enjoy it?”


“Which part did you find the most interesting?"

“The middle.”

It would be so much easier if you were able to discuss the author’s interests – and reference your discussion to other similar books. Many years ago an author called Enid Blyton developed the reading habits of thousands of children. She had several series of books. Once you had read one then everything was predictable in the others.

If you were to start reading the same book at the same time as your child you could discuss what could happen next in the story. You could talk about the style of writing and the development of the characters.

But what happens if you just hate the type of book your child enjoys? If you both enjoy fast moving adventure stories then you would share common interests. What on earth are you going to talk about if your child simply loves science fiction – and you can not stand that type of book? Can you force yourself to read a whole book just to be able to take an interest in what your child is reading?

Of course you can look at the cover, page through some illustrations and read the `blurb’ on the cover. This will give you some insight. What do you do if you feel you have to censor the book without reading it? Of course contemporary children’s books from reputable publishers should be completely acceptable. You know too that classic children’s literature may appeal to some children – and this too will have been looked at closely by generations of parents. You should also be able to rely on good quality non fiction books.

Your librarian will be able to give you and your child advice – and should take an interest in your dilemma. The big book shops will all have well stocked children’s sections. Some children may enjoy plays – others poetry. You may find that the only thing your child will read is a specialist magazine.

This is all very well – but how can you review and discuss a book with your child if you have not read the same material? You know the title and the author. You won’t, however, know the favourite character or the best part. If I knew how to solve this problem I would try to present a solution – but nothings springs to mind.

“Mum, did you enjoy the book?”

“Oh yes!”

“What was the best part?”

“I’m not sure. What do you think?”

“Oh Mum. You never did read it. Did You?"

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