Friday, 27 August 2010

I used to read bedtime stories to

Nicholas and his twin. It was perhaps the best part of babysitting two mischevious small boys and their two older siblings.
The twins would sit one on either side of me - so they could see the pictures. Their brother and sister would sit on the floor in front of me and listen - even though they declared they were "too big and just there to see that the twins behave". Are you ever too old for a bedtime story? I doubt it. I think the BBC still does "A book at bedtime".
I do not particularly like anyone reading aloud to me. It is possible that this is because I have had to endure too much of this being done in a spectacularly bad way. My mother once confessed to almost having nodded off as she listened to small children, still learning to read, progress as snail's pace from one word to the next.
I never did much reading aloud, even at school. I could read long before I went to school and my teachers were more than happy to leave me to my own devices while they worked with those who were struggling with the great mystery of the black lines on the white page. I was reading lengthy hardcovers when most of the class was still learning to read the limp first primer. Nobody considered this very extraordinary. Everyone knew that I just liked to read.
Even early in school I would often be irritated by someone reading aloud. It was badly done.
The same thing occurs all too frequently at Writers' Weeks and other author meetings. Being able to write is no guarantee that you can read aloud, even from your own work.
Two birthdays back my sister gave my father an audio-book as a little extra. He likes the writer and has not read that particular book - and he still has not listened to it. He prefers to read in silence.
The odd thing is that it took many, many years for reading in silence to become the accepted norm. Reading aloud was the accepted thing, even if you were alone. I can only assume that this was because of the pre-reading tradition of story telling and the fact that there were far fewer literate people.
Somehow though a child's picture book is there to be read aloud. Yesterday, after the funeral, I came home and pulled one of Nick's favourite books off the shelf - and read it aloud.


Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, children's picture books are best read aloud. I still have books I read to my children and some of those I still have to read aloud.
(A couple of them I have to read'in character' .... something out of character for me.

Judy B

catdownunder said...

I cannot read in character either!
I have no acting skills at all - was once introduced to a group of actors as,"This is Cat who does NOT want to be one of us." Everyone laughed and, after that, we all managed to get on very well.