Thursday, February 11, 2010

Books glorious books!

I have always been an avid reader. My earliest memories are reading those lovely little Golden Books - being a huge Sesame Street fan, I loved 'The Monster At The End Of This Book'. And the good old favourite, the Poky Little Puppy. When I got to primary school, I'd eagerly await the Book Club catalogue and help mum make my selections. Some of my first books from Book Club are still in my bookcase - the aptly named Ice Creams for Rosie, Poppy & the Outdoors Cat, the Enid Blyton story collections and all the witch stories by Ann M Martin. Poppy and the Outdoors cat was my first 'real' book that I read on my own (no pictures!) and I remember proudly doing so in grade two.... and getting up in front of the class in show and tell to brag about it!

Most of my relatives would remember me as a child with her nose always in a book and I would endeavour to read three or four books on our weekends away to Brisbane or Stanthorpe. When I was 9, my auntie gave me some of my cousin's old Famous Five novels and after reading the first one, I was hooked! I even remember swapping these with some of my classmates for other 'Five' adventures I didn't own! The Babysitters Club was also a phase I got into when in Year 6 and I managed to buy each book up until #32 when I decided that the club was wimpy and Dolly was a much better read!

Anyway, I guess that just highlights where my love of reading comes from and even now, I can't go to sleep without reading at least a page of a book.  So it comes at no surprise that we started reading to Lachie early on. I read him stories when he was still 'in utero' and started reading picture books from the day he arrived home from hospital.  Two of our favourites would be The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, coincidentally both by Eric Carle. (The Very Hungry Caterpillar holds a place close to my heart as it was a play our class did in Year 2, which won top prize at the Warwick Speech and Drama Festival! I played a butterfly, complete with a pink tutu and fairy wings)

Lachie loves sitting with me, on my lap, as we read. He will point to the pages and help turn them over.  He knows to poke the holes in the Caterpillar book, where to find the textured images in his other books and when to bark at the dog in Brown Bear, Brown Bear. If I need to grab his attention, I'll start reciting Brown Bear or The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Within seconds he stops whatever he is doing (normally a minor tanty!) and will crawl over. Sometimes he spies the book I'm supposedly reading, looks over at me, looks over at the book, back at me - with a look of wonder on his face that says 'How are you doing that? Aren't you meant to be holding this thing?!'

We're exploring the world of Hairy McClairy (from Donaldson's Dairy!), looking under beds and behind doors with Spot, wondering whether the lady who swallowed a fly readlly did die, and discovering the magic of possums. When playing on his own, he'll happily sit on the floor and turn the pages of a book he's found on the floor or in his toy box, and point to the pictures. I'm so happy that we've kick started Lachie's interest in reading and hope it continues for years to come.

I've been told babies need 1000 stories read to them before they learn to read. With about 250 to go before we hit that magical number, I hope we're well on our way to having another book worm in our family!    Reading invokes so much thought and imagination.... and I can't wait to share the stories of the Faraway Tree and the Famous Five with him at bedtime in the years to come, hoping he enjoys the tales of adventure as much as I did.

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