I am grumpy at the moment. Mummy is calling it ‘end-of-year-itis’. You know, that point you get to when you’re comfortable with the teacher, you know it all, your brother is like, sooooo annoying you, and school are throwing parties, assemblies, trips, DVD’s and treats at you because, well, just because. Add to that my teacher’s contagious ‘hayfever’ every time she thinks of us moving on (we are the best class in the school, after all), and a little bit of hysteria is inevitable.
Before I started school Mummy tried to get me reading simple phonics books. I.Was.Not.Interested. She put pencils in my clumsy fists – nothing doing. About 3 weeks into my Reception year however, I was hooked; I badgered her to help with my tricky words, and never looked back. Now, as Year 1 draws to a close, I have finished all the school reading books and am working my way through the library. Last week I brought home Harry Potter to read in my room, demolishing Mummy’s romantic notion of us reading the entire box set together.
So if you are struggling here are my top 5 tips for getting to grips with reading and writing:
1. Do not panic: if you’re not up for reading and writing, strong-arm tactics will not help (although fruit pastilles might). You will get it when you are ready, and not before. (Mummy is learning that this is true of most skills; check out my first 2-wheeled bicycle experience.) Take this example last week from the Bug, due to start school in September:
- Mummy: Today we have to take in something beginning with ‘p’. What shall we take?
- The Bug: A cat? (Wrong on so many levels)
But this week, out of nowhere he calmly announced: ‘Mummy, there’s a ‘g’ in the middle of ‘mungasaur’ and it begins with a ‘m’. (It’s a dinosaur that eats ‘mungs’, in case you were wondering). He was just ready, simple.
2. Make them read to you : Most of us love books, but anything will do: magazines, newspapers, road signs, shop fascias, pub menus, sweet wrappers, lego catalogues, we’re really not fussy, and we do like to know everything. If you’re really struggling for motivation have a rummage through their diaries – you’d be surprised how fast you learn to read when you find a birthday-present list 😉
3. Get down to the library: I’ve even seen babies in there. They practically devour books, especially if they’ve got someone else’s old ketchup glueing the pages together. We went to the library yesterday. On our return I somehow dragged myself into the house and started to read. Two hours later I was still here:
This is how obsessive I now am about reading, after a slow start. Which brings me onto my next top tip:
4. Don’t let them stop you: However happy they are that you are finally reading, they will at some point get cross with you for it. Like when I fell down the stairs because I couldn’t stop reading on the way down. Or when I failed my tap class for a reading-related incident. Do whatever it takes: read by bedside light if you can, by fairy light if not. If absolutely necessary I have often found that when I twist my neck to just the right angle I can get a passable glimmer from the hall via the crack in the bedroom door. They will try to threaten you with ruined eyesight; do not buckle. The reading habit is a good problem to have, and they know it.
5. Make it fun: I learned my phonics from road trips full of I Spy. This didn’t work for my brother so we tried foam letters to stick on the bath. I spell out a word, he finds one that rhymes. Bath-times are much calmer now. And when he’s gone, you can have all sorts of fun winding up your parents: