After my first post supporting Booktrust, which mainly colluded that ‘reading IS cake!’, I got some really interesting – and positive – responses on twitter. Particular thanks to @Alibrarylady who is the platonic ideal of school librarian and always so good to chat to, and lovely fellow illustrator @TeriSmyth, and also Damyanti and Katherine for leaving thoughtful comments.

Cheering to hear and no surprise, children who have books love books.
They read in any place and at any old time, and enjoy looking at books by themselves too. A little selective screen-time isn’t a horror, it’s just part of life, no big deal.

I thought I would just expand on the notion of reading aloud to older children,
because it seems so odd to me that it should sternly stop as soon as a child can read to themselves.

I looked at the bookshelves and all the hundreds of books we enjoyed together in this family, and felt a huge emotional wave wash over me, just remembering. One minute it was Milly-Molly-Mandy, it seems, the next it was Curious Incident, then Wodeshouse, then Waugh. I read novels aloud I’d never read myself at all, dug out classics I’d loved when small only to find they hadn’t passed the test of time and were too dreary to bother with, opened my mind to contemporary books I would otherwise have overlooked.

There’s another hidden positive, too.
An older child might have stopped telling you every single thing on their mind; that’s all good and healthy. They might not want to tell you about their day, and they certainly don’t want to hear about yours – what could be more boring!
But sharing a book at bedtime nurtures and sustains that closeness and communication. Instead of asking about school and nagging about homework (oh the TEDIUM – for everybody! ) , it’s all right out there, on the wilder shores of stories, drama, peril, laughs, adventure. Another place to go and spend some time together.

Do you still read to your older child, and what have you both loved recently?