Lynn, my Maternal Child Health Nurse, used to emphasise the need to read, then she would check herself and say, “But you’re a librarian, so I don’t need to go on!” (With two bibliophiles as parents, and a house with books everywhere, there is no escape for the young’uns.) No, but it’s nice to know that there are health professionals out there to emphasise to parents that reading is essential for little people.
It’s not just words and pictures on a page, but the language spoken, the rhymes, the metre of the words, the rise and fall of the voice. It’s how children learn how to speak, articulate and argue. It’s fun and for some parents, one of the few chances they will get to spend with their children. A banker friend of Mr BG’s who lives in Sydney gets home at 7.30pm just in time to read to his 7 and 9 year old daughters before they go to bed. They’re currently half-way through the Harry Potter series, and for the girls, one of the best parts of the day.
It’s fun to see the love for reading being instilled in your children. One of the loveliest memories I have as Miss BG as a baby is seeing her big brother ‘read’ The Hungry Little Caterpillar to her while she lay on her rug :).
Age-inappropriate literature– reading books before you are ready for them can make you realise how much living you need to do before you can understand them. I read Tess of the D’Arbevilles when I was 12, not knowing what the word seduced meant- I found out soon enough :). And I would have to confess to reading Jackie Collins a couple of years later in Year 10- very educational for a girl who was going to am Catholic girl’s school!
After reading this article though, it made me realise that I should have read Catcher in the Rye before I became an adult- it didn’t seem as relevant as it would have been if I were a disaffected 16 year old…