Thursday, 3 November 2011
A Book a Day keeps the cobwebs away.
We are a family of words. And lots of them (I kissed the Blarney Stone twice, so I don't know what you expect really.) Our youngest daughter risks disinheritance by proclaiming that she 'doesn't like reading' but we are willing to forgive her because she is very cute. Our eldest daughter is a reader. She loves reading, and will do so anywhere. She even has books in her bed!
Many years ago we started a family tradition! Well my husband did, as a way to keep the girls calm whilst I made tea. He read them a book with Chapters - "Jack Fox Detective". He has fond memories of this from childhood. His original copy had gone the way of many of his toys and books but his dad managed to track down a copy for him. Real life detective work. :)
It was the first of many books we have read our children. Occasionally (at the grand old ages of 8 and 10) they declare they are too old for this nightly ritual* but most times they beg for 'just one more Chapter'. My husband and I take it in turns to choose the book. I have read the whole 'Little House on the Prairie'series to them and am now plowing my way through the 'Anne' books (although our local 2nd handbook shop has discourteously sold the next one to someone else!) In order to restore the balance he reads 'Paddington Bear', 'Swallows and Amazons', 'Dr DooLittle' and the like. He also, sneaks a 'Narnia' book in on a Sunday afternoon! I never enjoyed them as a child but am finding them surprisingly interesting; perhaps the fact that I am half asleep helps. Sadly, we haven't keep a precise list of all the books we have read so with time we are forgetting some.
We have only given up on one book and that was after about 4 chapters. It was the literary equivalent of watching paint dry and that was with my husband condensing the words! So I am afraid to say 'Swiss Family Robinson' doesn't get a recommendation from this family.
And this is a book I want to read because I think it is cool that we aren't the only family to have done this.
* Our nightly ritual/routine goes something like this and happens about 5 times a week:
We have always believed in getting our children nice and calm just before bed. It has adapted and evolved over the years but the essentials of it stay the same. We have tea at about 5.30pm. This is followed by 'jobs' - each family member has something that needs to be done. The girls then go and get themselves ready for bed. About 6.30 pm we are all ready to pile on the sofa and snuggle up ready for story time. Each child goes with a parent and we take turns. Then the reading begins. Occasionally, the non-reading parent has been known to 'rest their eyes'. We follow story time by Bible Time which of late the children have been more involved in as it got a bit stale for a while. After this the children go to bed with kisses, cuddles, 'what to dream of' and we sing 'The Lord bless you and keep you.' We shut the bedroom door and about 75% of the time the girls go straight to sleep.
It works for us. And there have been days when our family life has been so fraught that this little routine has been the only good part. So we stick to it. And plan to for as long as we are able.
So if you have any good Chapter books then please let me know. Answers on a postcard please or alternatively bung them in the comments section.