Miscellaneous Mum - Trying to find the objective correlative, everyday
It was recently National Book Week. Unlike many schools in our area and over Australia, the school the kids’ attend did not have any kind of dress-ups, or parades, or any sort of concerted effort to acknowledge the event – at least, not that was communicated to the parents.
I’m not going to turn this post into any sort of rant or diatribe against the school’s choice as to why they didn’t do anything about it. I have spoken to the school as to my disappointment that books and reading and literacy aren’t showcased in a social, ‘fun’ sense, the very reason why I adored Book Week as a child and why I looked forward to dressing up, and is why I have volunteered my own time to do an author talk in previous years, so at least I felt like I had contributed in some way.
(Don’t even get me started as to my feelings concerning the fact that the library isn’t open during lunchtimes – a situation that is becoming sadly more common as I discover the more I talk to other parents across Australia. These are complicated issues that require resources to be resolved. Resources parents are willing to offer, such as volunteering time to assist. But that’s another post.)
Then I realised, that with all the above said, something was more important. That something – someone – was me. A parent.
I read diligently to the children right from when they were babies, took them to story times at the library, always had stacks of books at home. We still visit the library several times a week. But I admit, for all that exposure, they’re both reluctant readers, and since they’ve both learned to read independently, I always assumed (dangerous!) that they would catch the reading bug, either by watching Adam and I read at home, or by finding some hook (be it an author or series) that would finally trigger the bug.
It hasn’t happened yet.
I admit, my frustrations have dwindled more to a sense of personal disappointment and I’ve been doing a fair bit of soul-searching about it: What else can I do? Have I fought hard enough? They are both extraordinarily technologically proficient – perhaps I’ve been too focused on ‘old-school’ bookish ideals of paper and glue. Maybe I need to take this battle online, so to speak.
This is the first year where I’ve tried to let the kids fulfill the Premier’s Reading Challenge by themselves, without any prompting on my part. And with it just over a week away from finishing, at this rate neither will complete it. When I talk to parents, who know I’m a writer, and they tell me about how as soon as their kids get home from school they run to their rooms to pick up the book they were forced to put down in the morning I think about how that reminds me of when I was a kid.
In learning to accept that my kids are not me, naturally, I’ve been trying to figure out how to approach this subject. And Book Week might have helped. Or, not. Though it would be nice to have the chance to see.
Regardless, I need to keep plugging away. Which is why I’m going to try something: the other day writer and cultural commentator Amy Gray remarked on a Facebook thread that reading to a child needn’t be an arduous chore that a parent needs to grimly face each night. “20 mins isn’t that hard to do,” she said. Even for the busiest of parent.
When she put it like that, I had to agree.
So that is what I’m going to do. #just20min I will hashtag it.
That is totally doable.
P.S I realise the above photo is a million internet years old, but it always makes me happy.
Karen Andrews is the creator of Miscellaneous Mum. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).
Thank you for writing this Karen. I am passionate about my children reading, as I believe it develops so much in them. Imagination, wonder, excitement, awe. We have always read to our children and still read with them (between 5 years old and the teens).
I have to admit that I wondered if reading for self-enjoyment would ever ‘kick in’. I am thrilled to say that our teenage son has suddenly stumbled upon a book series that he is devouring. This has happened in the last 3 months. I find him ‘sneaking’ his light on late at night, to read (how do you get cross about that?). Up early, to read. Taking himself off to his room, to read. It is amazing to watch!
Yay for the world in books.
Collett (Family Smart) recently posted..Why technology needs to be out of bedrooms
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