Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bedtime stories

I mentioned yesterday - and I rather suspect that I have done so on at least a few earlier occasions - that I am an avid reader.  The so-called experts tell us that if parents want their children to enjoy reading, they (the parents) should read to their children.  Now, I most certainly make no claim to be an expert in this or, indeed, any other matter.  All the same, expert or not, I have an opinion. And you are going to be given the benefit of that opinion.  I think it is important that parents do read to their children, although whether or not children go on to enjoy books may not be influenced by the presence or absence of parental reading.  I really have no particular opinion on that part of the question.

I personally enjoy reading.  Did I say that before?  But what I don't know is how much my parents might have influenced that.  You see, I have no recollection whatsoever of my mother ever reading to my brother and I.  And, for the most part, it would have been my mother rather than my father who would have read to we boys as we were both war babies and our father was away at sea for most of the first five years of my life.  That said, I do remember my father reading to us.  We would pester him for ages before he would agree to do so, and our choice of book was always the story of Robin Hood.  This had some great colour illustrations and was our favourite book - but my father wasn't too happy with it.  For some reason, he always managed to mix up "bow" and in "bow and arrow" and "bow" as in "bow from the waist".  Through in a few "boughs" - as happened quite naturally since the story was set in Sherwood Forest - and poor Dad became totally confused.

Parental influence aside, I have always remembered the teacher who took my class for religious instruction, Mr Holly.  Yes, that really was his name, and he was no relation to Uncle Holly who appeared in Selfridges department store in London just before Christmas every year.  But to return to RI.  Mr Holly - was that really his name or is my memory playing tricks again? - was a great one for widening the scope of his lessons.  He seemed to think that just about everything on Earth was connected to religion in one way or another and any subject under the sun was appropriate for discussion.  But what I remember him for is his advice to read as much as possible about as many things as possible, even if it meant reading the corn flakes packet at breakfast.

I'm not at all sure that either of my sons is a great reader - I know my daughter is - and as either the Old Bat or I would read to the children every day, this might just point to the fact that the experts don't always know what they are talking about.

This one of my favourite family snaps - the Old Bat reading to the two boys.

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