Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A Reluctant Reader

We really try and encourage reading in our house- we've got shelves heaving with books for all ages and stages, and I've read aloud to the children since they were no age at all. That said, I've usually found that a child usually only chooses  to read after checking first that the iPad, the DS, Minecraft and the TV are all off limits.

Why? Because they're the easier, lazier option, requiring no real effort at all.  I have to confess that they can also be really really useful, and I'm as guilty as anyone in relying on them when it suits me, but deep down I know they're no substitute at all for reading.

As a child, I loved to escape into books (and my Granny's Women's Own magazine) but then again, I didn't have all those other distractions vying for my attention. In recent years, I've read less than I should - less time to sit down is the official reason, but zoning out on the iPad  may be the more truthful one. In regard to the former, I finally discovered audiobooks, so now I download them on my iPhone and it's such a luxury to be read to while walking, cleaning or driving. But is it multitasking at its very best, or the absolute height of laziness? I can't decide.

Of the children, some are naturally drawn to the books on their bookshelves, while others (well, one in particular) would rather do almost anything else -for example, a recent excuse was ' But I can't read now, I have to cut my toenails.' A surprising choice I thought, given his usual complete disregard for personal grooming of any type.
Believe me,  finding books that appeal to this particular boy is a real challenge, and then last week while tidying and rejigging the shelves, I came upon an old favourite that had belonged to his older brother. My Dad - an old pro at choosing age appropriate books had bought it for him a few years back and I'd forgotten all about it.

It's called 'The Rover Adventures' by the inimitable Roddy Doyle- this copy has three books in one. Perfect for boys because it focuses a lot on dog poo, it's a whole lot of fun, and for the first time ever, his response when I ask him to read  isn't a deep groan or a 'Nooooooo!', or a 'Can't we do it tomorrow instead?'

 It's original, funny and clever, the pictures are fabulous and importantly  it has really short chapters - this boy checks the chapter length and initiates negotiations on number of pages he has to read before he even gets started.   Best of all,  when my boy's reading AND smiling, I know I'm on to a winner.


  1. I just packed grandson of with a book one of the Narnia series. and while he was here told me The Hobbit was his fav. book. as his daddy reads it to him. He is nearly 8yrs.he listened to my Hobbit CD, so I bought him a personal CD player , Hobbit and Lord of the rings. I worried about it being the lazy option but thought stories are feeding the mind.

  2. Oh my girls would love to read about poo too. We're all about farts in our house this last while! Must grab a copy and give it a go!

  3. Hi Emma - it is a fave here. You must pick up the audiobook read by Tommy Tiernan - it has saved so many boring car journeys!! Sorry - realised I am not helping much with the reading ... Lots of love Laura xxxx

  4. Hi Emma - It is a fave here too - you must get the audiobook read by Tommy Tiernan - it has saved so many boring car journeys. Sorry - just realised I am not helping with the reading ... Lots of love. Laura xxx