a link to Twitter about bedtime reading - here https://t.co/RfBlPgB116 - and I prowled over to read it. Yes, it is worth a read. What a wonderful experience those children are having!
I have a deep love of bedtime reading. I need to read at bedtime. I watch very little television. Our television set gets very little use as the Senior Cat also prefers to read. It does not matter how late it is or how tired I am I need to read, if only a little.
I am sure I get my love of reading from the Senior Cat. The blog post above transported me back to my own childhood and bedtime reading.
It was my father who read to me, not my mother. Some of my very earliest memories are of sitting in front of the old Metters No 5 - a wood burning stove a little like an Aga. I am sitting on the Senior Cat's bony knees. He has the book open in front of me and he is putting his finger on each word as he reads to me.
The oven door has been opened in order to warm the room and the Senior Cat is holding me firmly with the one hand as the other hand turns the pages and points to the words. It must be winter, probably late winter, and I would have been around twenty months old. And yes, I really can remember this. The images are still sharp in my mind. Even at that very young age I was hooked on books.
I can even remember some of the books, although I think those memories must come from later. I could read some words by the time I was two, really read them. I did not just recognise them in a familiar book. I would find them in other places. I would go through other reading material and try to find the words I could read.
My parents believed in phonics so I was taught to "sound the word" from the start. I went from recognising letters and words in things like "Splish Splash Rainy Day" and "The tale of Peter Rabbit" to sounding words out for myself.
Of course I did not always get it right. There were times when I became intensely frustrated. I can remember my mother shouting at me, "Not now Cat! I'm busy." More than once I resorted to the neighbour over the fence. She seemed to have more time.
But, at night, the Senior Cat would pick me up and put me on his knee and we would read together. There was no public library in the little country town where we lived but the Senior Cat would bring books home from the school and there were books from the Children's Country Lending Service. If the Senior Cat had to go into the university during the school holidays he would take me to the big library in the city and I could choose books for myself. I can remember arguing, probably not very politely, with the librarian about what I was allowed to borrow. Aged about four she, perhaps rightly, thought that picture books were more suitable. I had chosen Mumfie's Magic Box by Katherine Tozer and it was only after I had read the first page to her that I was allowed to borrow it!
When we moved to the city just before my fifth birthday the Senior Cat stopped reading to me every night. He was not always there. He was finishing his degree. Teachers rarely did degrees back then but he was determined to get one and was doing it part time. That meant lectures late in the afternoon and an evening tutorial.
If he was home though he would still try to find the time to read to me. He brought books back from the Children's Library for me and I devoured them. Bedtime reading was part of this. "One chapter!" my mother would say and then take the book away.
And I dreamed of writing my own books.