Solving the World's problems with common sense and a flamethrower.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Being A Story-Teller

When you take a look inside a book Who knows what you might see? A story or rhyme - so take the time And read along with me!

The job of Storyteller has a long and worthy history in this country and is, I'm happy to say, an old tradition that in recent years has been resurrected - and rightly so.

However, I don't think it's just the role of an official storyteller, or that of teachers, to introduce children to the wonders of the written word.

To me, teaching our kids to read and instilling them with a love of books and literature is, quite simply, one of the best gifts of love a parent can bestow.

We have the chance to show them whole new worlds inhabiting the pages; to enhance their imaginations and creative skills by showing them how characters can come to life inside their minds; to instil in them a love of the knowledge they can find within books; and to teach them that they need never be bored while there's a library nearby.

We're blessed in that we have such a vast range of authors and genres which we can use to do this. From Dr Seuss to Roald Dahl, from AA Milne to JK Rowling. It's all there for us to read to, and with, our children.

I'm not fortunate enough to be with my two boys 24/7, but I'm luckier than many in that I have plenty of access and I make time to spend with them as well. And for me, the best part of that time is reading with them, which I do every Thursday evening as well as at weekends.

With Josh, who's just three, it's mostly bedtime stories and Dr Seuss - but to see his eyes light up when we read 'The Cat in the Hat' together is just amazing. I've also started introducing him to poetry - today, for example, we were walking around the living room to AA Milne's 'Lines and Squares', stepping in time to the rhythm of the verse, both of us shouting, "Bears!" at the appropriate moment.

Then there was the wonderful moment of reciting 'Jabberwocky' - chasing a screaming Josh around the room, being 'the jaws that bite, the claws that catch'. He loves it, and he doesn't even know he's learning.

Jay, at 10, is more difficult, however Roald Dahl is always a winner. His characters are so vibrant and rounded, his goodies so good and his villians so vile, that it gains and holds the attention of even an older boy. And of course, the graphic descriptions of baddies meeting sticky ends is always popular. We're doing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - and we share the reading, so he both learns and is entertained at the same time.

I've also started bringing poetry to Jay - he needs a little help with his reading at the moment, and the cadence and structure of simple poems seems to aid both his concentration on the words and also on his expressiveness when reading. The choice of subject matter also helps - I find that snot-related verse seems to have the desired effect!

My best friend Loudmouthman recently wrote an excellent piece on the Duty and Responsibility of being a Dad, which I urge you to read. However, I believe that a big part of that responsibility is very simple.

Read with your kids.

You never know - it might even be fun.

(This piece is published on Dad-o-Matic. There's good stuff there. Go and read it.)


Anonymous said...

One of the best things, what I enjoy the most is having my daughter read to me. It is fantastic. And when we read together it is even more fun, each reading a different characters words.

It is one of the most important things that a parent can do. Once a child can read, the world, and lots of others too, opens up for them

Dungeekin said...

Well said Sim-O, and thanks for the comment.