I recently read an article that chilled me to the bone, claiming parents are reading to their children less and less (only one family in three, apparently). Even worse, when people suggest utter nonsense like this (so ludicrous I had to check my watch and make sure it wasn’t the 1st of April), I decided I had to post a blog on this subject.
The very idea of not reading to my children is an anathema. Not only is it important bonding time, but it also leads to deep, often quite profound discussion.
For example, I have almost finished reading The Hobbit to my six year old. Not only did he love the thrills and spills of that adventure, but the section we are currently in, just prior to the Battle of Five Armies, has led to in depth talks about idolising wealth and the nature of greed.
In my view, not reading to children is nigh-on call for intervention by the social services. It goes without saying that reading to children is vital if you want to stimulate their imaginations, whatever their age. Whether you are reading picture books like The Hungry Caterpillar, Dogger, The Grufallo and The Tiger who came to Tea or novels like Swallows and Amazons, The Wind in the Willows, Five go to Smuggler’s Top or The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, or non-fiction material (my youngest son is very partial to books about undersea life, especially sharks), reading to children is absolutely essential to raise well balanced human beings.
It is also a great way for parents to reconnect with their own childhoods. I really enjoy reading my children the tales I loved as a child, as well as more recent greats, such as the Harry Potter books – a series I would have loved to have grown up with. I am often surprised and delighted to discover jokes and themes that can only be appreciated as an adult in the likes of, say, Winnie the Pooh.
If it is true that more and more parents are not reading to their children, then I can only condemn such inaction as shameful and bitterly sad neglect.
It should come as no surprise that I also use my children as guinea pigs for my own novels. I have almost finished reading the final book in the George Hughes trilogy, George goes to Neptune, to my eldest child, which is going down very well (although I don’t think he was quite prepared for the dark turns of the final act).
Incidentally, George goes to Neptune is released on the 25th October. You can pre-order the Kindle download from Amazon by clicking here. Print copies will be available from the 31st October.