I don’t enjoy reading. I never have. I can hear the sharp in takes of breath from all the avid readers out there, and I do hang my head in shame. I really wish I could dive into a book and get lost in the pages, but I just can’t Hubby is a book adict and he just doesn’t understand my reluctance to read. I will try to explain.
When I was at school, the books we learned to read with were called Peter and Jane (this is the modern version of them – http://www.ladybird.co.uk/ladybirdworldwide/keywords.html), so I instantly was teased at school because the mundane things the girl in the book did. It was in the days when sexual stereotypes could not be broken, and Jane helped Mum while Peter got to do fun stuff with Dad!!! We then moved onto some more exciting books about pirates, each being named after their coloured clothing. Roderick the Red was a true hero to me, but I also enjoyed his friends. I did reading at school because I had to, it was never really fun. I have a mathematical brain and not a language one.
My Dad was also an avid reader. He would take out his 8 books from the library and read all of them in tandem. That would confuse the hell out of me! We used to have to go to the library with him and choose books too, he was determined we would have his love of reading. Maybe that’s part of the problem, it was difficult for me and I was being forced rather than encouraged. Anyway, it was on one of these trips to the library, I first encountered Dr Seuss. The pictures drew me to the book, and the nonsense rhymes kept me interested. I had found books I could lose myself in. The world created in these books was so far-fetched it was interesting. I couldn’t get enough. Dad wasn’t all together happy as they weren’t really stretching me but I was enjoying them.
Then came secondary school and English literature lessons. I was still a slow reader, and words didn’t always make sense to me as I transposed letters. Spelling was a nightmare, and the only help the teacher gave when my parents asked how they could assist me was to go out and buy a dictionary! Not helpful if you have no idea where to begin with a word! English lit, took away my final nugget of reading enjoyment. I still don’t understand why we need to pull apart the relationship between the wart on one characters nose with the pimple on the bum of another. What relevance does it have? If you read a book, and enjoy the story then great, but I don’t need to make up sub text for the sake of it. I’m sure the authors would have problems passing exams on their own books if they had to sit silly questions. One of the books we did at school was The Hobbit, and to this day, Tolkien fills me with dread. I get palpitations thinking about it. Hubby gets palpitations to my attitude as he loves Lord of the Rings.
I’m not sure I’ve made it clear why I don’t enjoy reading, but it’s just the way it is! I have never had the best attention spam, so sitting down reading gets me quite fidgety, I need to be up doing something. I could never go on holiday and sit on the beach for a week just reading a book!
I therefore can empathise with M who at the moment is not enjoying his reading. He can do it, he just doesn’t like doing it, and it is a constant battle to get him doing his school reading of an evening, especially now there is far more of it. M doesn’t understand homework, as in his mind, school work is for school, and not for at home. To some point I agree with him, but the education system doesn’t, so we make him do his written work as well as his reading. He will mumble, and fall over words, in the hopes of getting out of it, but we always get there in the end.
Yesterday morning though the most amazing thing happened. I was woken just after 6am (yes, that time does exist on a Sunday morning), by the sound of chattering coming from the boys bedroom. I went through to see what was going on, as I didn’t want the rest of the house woken at that time. The boys were sitting on M’s bed with their Dr Seuss collection – I had bought it for the boys and have loved reading the books with them. They were discussing which books they were going to read. D had decided upon Marvin K Mooney – I think he loves the amazing modes of transport in it, while M had chosen The Cat in the Hat. They said they just wanted to sit and read, so I told them to keep it quiet so as not to waken anyone. About an hour later they came through to our room and asked if they could read to us. Even half asleep, it is impossible to say no to that request. D went first, and whizzed though his book. M took a little longer, but a much more complicated book, and at various points he had to mention the discrepancies between the book and the film, but he read the whole thing with only a couple of errors which we let go. He was very proud of himself, as we were of him.
I could remember the excitement I had when I first read that book and how my mind was a buzz because I had found a book I loved, so for M to love it and choosing it as a book he wanted to read, and not because he had to, was brilliant. This week at school, M’s class is doing a project about desert islands, and the children have to choose three things they would take with them. M has of course chosen Jimmy (his best cuddly bud), a notepad and pencil, and The Cat in the Hat because it is his favourite book.
Now, he might not be enjoying his proper school reading, but we will chip away at that, but I am pleased he has found a book, he can lose himself in, and that he wants to read. It is a stepping stone, that we need to keep solid for him, so he can then move on to the next one, and hopefully his apprehension towards reading will go.
Thank you Mr Geisel – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss for giving me, and now M a feeling that reading can be fun!