Sunday, 28 March 2010

Reading matters

We need to move. No, not to get into the best school – though ask me again tomorrow, on Allocation Day; I may have changed my mind. Not for work – we work from home; and our office is one of the nicest rooms in the house. Not to downsize – can’t imagine we would ever manage that; clutter is our lifeblood (OK, mine).

No, we need to move because Rosemary has almost worked her way through all the books in the library. The children’s ones, of course – she’s not started on Jane Eyre and Great Expectations yet.

She’s not reading them herself, I should add. This is not an ‘Isn’t my kid a genius?’ post. (Though, obviously she is and I don’t even need to mention it because it’s obvious. Right?) She gets read them. She is showing an interest in the words, now, and recognising some words and lots of letters. But reading herself is still a way off, I would think.

She gets 15-20 books out each visit to the library and there’s usually a couple of visits a week. And she remembers them. We’ll pick up a book in the library and she’ll remember that she’s read it already. Not last week, but a few months ago. (She certainly has Chris’ memory, not mine!) And she seems to have a strange aversion to getting a book out more than once, though we can sometimes persuade her.

So, yes, we need to move. To a different library catchment area. Or maybe go on a library crawl. We could probably manage three in a day, if there was no nursery school or playgroup..

They are mostly read to her at bedtime. She has a shortish book with me and Eleanor, then Chris takes over while I go and feed Eleanor and get her to sleep. He reads anything between three and eight books, depending on length, time and mood (both his and Rosemary’s, probably!).

I sometimes read some with her in the morning, between ‘shower bath’ and school run and while feeding Eleanor. And we often read quite a few when a new lot has just been borrowed. But the majority of the reading is at bedtime.

So, we’re wondering whether this is about normal? Is it not enough? I won’t ask if it’s too much, because I honestly don’t believe there could ever be too much reading! Should we be spreading the books out throughout the day? Should we be varying the types of books a bit? (Most of them are from the early readers section. And, don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re much better than the Peter and Jane books we learnt to read with!) Or is it all just personal choice – ours and hers?

And out of interest, what are your children’s reading habits, whether they’re reading themselves or not? Do you use the library a lot? We’re fascinated by all things reading-related.


  1. It sounds fantastic. I'm sure my daughter would love me read to her every night, but I have to be honest - I find it one of the dullest things ever! I encouraged 'independent reading' as soon as I possibly could :-)

  2. Not unusual, the mini's are the same. we do the different library thing, as my Mum and MIL are both in different villages to us, so if we visit during the day we go to their library. Plus they are loads of little ones in the nearby villages.

    I have boys with such a thirst for books, e have started on chapter books at bedtime

  3. As long as you're not making her sit down and be read to, and she's enjoying the experience, then there's nothing to worry about AT ALL.

    I was an early reader - reading "properly" by the age of three - however, my children are not great readers of books... but that's just part of the digital age, in my experience.

  4. I would say if you're getting through that long a reading session at bedtime, it's definitely time to be moving on to longer books!
    We also gave our 2 some time alone with books after we had read to them - I would find them sitting in bed 'reading' the book - telling the story to themself from memory. An excellent pre-reading skill, and they learned that books could entertain them without mommy or daddy needing to be there all the time! I think reading books over and over is important. Both were reading by age 4, and both are well ahead of their peers now at ages 7 and 10.

  5. We read all of the time. There are books by my bed, in their room, in the play room, by the sofa, next to the loo and in the car - we *love* books. I hit the nearly new sales and car boot sales, have built up a good collection that way. We do go to the library but too busy to make it a weekly visit and have run into the same problem as you in that most of the good books are familiar to us. Reading is such a treasure and a love of books is definitely something to be encouraged. Good luck on A-Day ;) Kat x

  6. TB goes through phases of not being fussed about books or staying up reading at night until he's falling asleep on top of them. Try encouraging Rosemary to read her favourites again and again, even reading to Eleanor if she wants. D&K do some great learning to read books as well.

  7. We read heaps with Toddlergirl - in bed in the morning, if she fancies it during the day and at bedtime so have a similar issue, fortunately we have several libraries we can get to !

  8. My boys were the same at that pre-school age. Luckily we lived in a big town with a fantastic library and we'd go about once a week and get loads of books and a video usually. Since we moved to Lincolnshire I've only visited the local library about twice as its so tiny it's just rubbish. Car boot sales are a great place to get books, usually really good quality and only about 20p. I still read at bedtime to my youngest who is 9. He probably still likes it because I am busy working most of the time so it's giving him a bit of time with me. Eldest (nearly 12) reads lots on his own but has recently taken to reading with his ipod on - not sure how he can do that, I wouldn't be able to take in what I was reading!

  9. My husband has banned me from the library - too many fines. Also, our children seem to be pretty into repetition, so they're happy with the (tons and tons) of books we have at home. We do read a lot, though.

  10. We read 5 books or so at bedtime, and both kids (4 and 2) are huge book lovers and at preschool they are often to be found sitting in the book corner. We have lots of books at home (hundreds - gifts, hand me downs and I do buy a lot also), we use our preschools library and sometimes our local library too. Mine actually love to read the same books over and over again (so do I, I must have read Howards End about 100 times!), so I take the same books out over and over again for them!

    Maybe Rosemary would like to revisit some favourites!

  11. I have a book-lover daughter, but she is still happy with repetition at the moment, so two books a week from the library, and she has her own large collection too - and everyone gives her books as presents so we still haven't quite worked our way through all the Christmas ones yet. Two a day, at bedtime, and a few others throughout the day.

  12. @slummysinglemummy: Really? I love reading to children. Whenever I do playgroup duty, I end up ensconced in the book corner!

    @TheMadHouse: The library in my mum's village closed down recently, sadly - building was condemmed. My mum would always take her when she was there (on a day it was open, at least). Chapter books... Which ones are you reading?

    @Nickie: Chris and I were also both early readers - by (or possibly at some point while) 3. I used to read myself to sleep at night, and my parents would come in to turn the light off and remove the books from around me/on my face!

    @Almost American: I like the idea of leaving her to read some herself. She does the reading them to herself a bit now, already. Sometimes she'll pick one out and 'read' it while I'm getting Eleanor dressed in the morning, or 'read' it to Eleanor.

    @Kat: We have loads of books here, too, but she's not hugely interested in reading ones she knows already. Which is odd, because I'm sure children are supposed to be incredibly, annoyingly repetitive. I think we're going to have a root through some of the books on the shelves and try to find some that she'll enjoy reading again and again - she did used to!

    @Glowstars: I think she's starting to get into reading to Eleanor - she loves reading her the little board books and does a combination of just saying the words and then making up stories about them. I think we'll try to encourage some favourites, too. She has asked to keep a library book for another go a couple of times recently, which is promising.

    @Muddling Along Mummy: I wish we had several libraries easily accessible! I think we may start getting down some of the books from the shelves and encouraging some repitition. May also have a bit more of a concerted look in charity shops. Actually, Chris just bought a big pile of Roald Dahls from RSPCA shop the other day. Think they're probably still a bit old for her.

    @Jennysnail: How lovely that you still read to your son at 9. I hope we get to keep reading that long. It's such a lovely thing. I think we need to get a few more books on shelves, at a slightly higher level, now. We do have loads, but some that were a bit more like the ones she gets from the library would probably be good.

    @Mwa: I think we definitely need to encourage the repetition. It's really important in learning to read, too, as well as not exhausting the library's supplies.

    @geekymummy: I love to read the same books over and over, too. Though am having to do it less so these days, because I have less time to read (sob). My over and overs are Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, amongst others. Oh, and Goodnight Mister Tom. And plenty more, really. We are definitely going to have to remind her of some of the ones she's really enjoyed. And see if we can't cultivate some new favourites, too.

    @Hearth-mother: If we could just get her reading the ones we own more, we'd be sorted. She just really seems to be enjoying having brand new books to read. Which I can understand. But old favourites are so great, too. I'm sure she'll change her habits again soon.

  13. How wonderful to have such a book-lover!