When I was little my mother read to me and I read voraciously my whole childhood. I lived in the worlds that presented to me. My imagination grew and my love of magic was fostered by Aladdin, Alice In Wonderland, and my insight into human nature, pain and emotion came from Heidi, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and then I grew older and became fascinated with Krakatoa and adventure stories.
My mother was requested to read Aladdin to me nightly for years. Oh dear when I became a mum I know what that felt like lol. I knew every word off by heart in the correct order, savouring every event and nuance. “No skipping the sentences mum,” “it doesn’t say that then mum” etc etc. I must have driven her crazy but it was my nightly ritual and it had to be delivered or I couldn’t go to sleep easily.
I knew every word every off by heart and I could recite them to myself by memory in no time once I began to read for myself. I even used to recite the golden book “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” backwards, word for word at the age of five. Apparently that is a sign of intelligence. Forgive my eccentricities! I used to do it with songs too musically. My little personal quirk but I am sure there are others out there!
Let me know if you did also.
Books were my companions as I spent a lot of time alone as a child. I would lay in bed and read on the weekends and at night until I fell asleep. I devoured life by default. It gave me space and experience in the mundaneness of a suburban life.
When I have each of my four children I read to them from birth. I sang to them while they were still in the womb and used those same melodies to soothe them after they were born, which happened automatically as they knew the songs. My voice became my tool for soothing in so many ways with stories, song, laughter and experiences beyond our loungeroom and backyard. Many a time I would go into my sons’ bedrooms and find them with a torch under the covers, covertly reading a book after bedtime. The Cat In The Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, The Fabulous Five, Horrible Henry, The Magic Faraway Tree, Where’s Wally (it works with boys), One son used to borrow the Guinness Book of Records and bring it home from the school library in Kindergarten!!!!!! It was bigger than him almost, but he loved to read facts. Still does and is now top of his year in many subjects. My daughter kept diaries and became the fairy princesses she read about. She was convinced she was The Little Mermaid.
As a family we were fortunate enough to grow along with the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling. We each took turns reading the book when each one came out and hung out to then see the movies. We compared notes on the characters and events and whether we thought the movie was accurate to the book etc. Sometimes we were disappointed that our favourite bits from the books were omitted in the movies etc. It was great community and conversation despite the differing ages of the children and myself. I was equally addicted.
These days in the technological age many people rely on video/dvd and youtube, talking books and tv to substitute in busy lifestyles for the good old lap and book time.
Don’t if you can avoid it. You will find when your children grow up they will remember the time you spent with them reading and cuddling, imagining and developing their sense of adventure via story. Teach your children to write early and let them explore. It isn’t all about spellcheck. It is definately about support, imagining and allowing drafts and thoughts to become real on paper.
Till next week take good care of yourself. Happy reading and writing.
Till next week, love and light
Katherine Bright ND