It’s National Storytelling Week, did you know? I came across this fact as I perused a magazine at the weekend, and thought to myself “now there is a cause I can get behind”. I’ve always loved reading with the boys and with my mum, granny, working in library services there has always been an abundance of books on borrow or new recommended reads, littering our home.
Little Tink took to words like a duck to water. I still remember the day when he requested a turn at reading the 20 or so word cards I had stuck on the back of the kitchen door for his struggling older brother. Smiling sweetly, I played along and allowed him to step forward, my smile was soon agog in a gapping jaw drop, as he rattled them off with little effort.
“Oh you can read then” was all I could muster and popped the obligatory reward sweet into his grinning mouth.
Anyway from there on in his reading has been what only can be described as ferocious, completing all the Harry Potters at aged six. So when a child is so eager and happy to lose themselves in a book, it is easy to forget the joy and importance of reading to them.
However, struggling with bedtime and sleeping has brought back a more structured night time ritual for my now nine year old and that has included me reading to him again. I recently chose “The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas” for us to share. I had already read and thoroughly enjoyed it, and was sure that Tink would too.
He is a complicated little soul when it comes to choosing a suitable read. A lot of the books for his age don’t challenge him sufficiently, but moving into books for older children, teen books, can sometimes bring questionable content for a nine year old. However he has a very intelligent understanding of the world for a boy of his age and can recognise and understand subtleties on the page, which he finds very hard to handle in his own emotions.
The subject matter of The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, The Holocaust, is a huge subject matter to grasp, but he had previously read “The Diary of Anne Frank”, so I knew he already had some understanding. However, as this story is told through the eyes of a nine year old son of a Nazi Commandant, it also requires the ability to translate his skewed perception on the events. At times we’ve stopped to discuss what is being referred to, or what is in reality happening, and at each point he has known precisely.
We have been reading the book a chapter at a time and at the end of each one Tink is eagerly anticipating what will happen in the next. We are nearing the end and the story is now becoming very tense. Last night as we read, his little body leaning against mine, I could feel him tightening as the intensity of the situation on the page grew, he was truly gripped. Obviously reading stories also gives me another outlet for my dramatic talents, as I offer up varying tones and accents to the characters and intersperse the odd pause for theatrical effect. Already knowing how it all ends, I am not looking forward to but, will be very interested to see how he responds to the outcome.
So the littlest thing of storytelling has recently offered a wonderful shared experience for me and my youngest boy.
I’ve linked this post with Mummy Never Sleeps.