walk a-musing

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The pleasure of reading to kids


Last week I bought a book "The Voyage of the Arctic Tern" to read to V. Yes, V is now twelve and definitely beyond the age to be read to regularly. But I still try to steal the pleasure occasionally.
V and I started enjoying books together when he was still really small. A book in front of him would make any food go in without a fuss. So books who were always my great friends became my best friends. We also had the help of the lovely Karadi tales. Three year old V and I followed the pictures in the book while Nasiruddin Shah narrated the tales of Kala and Karupi and the Monkey and the Crocodile. Perhaps that is how V picked up some English though he only knew to speak Kannada.
Once V actually learned to read, we read to each other just so we could enjoy a story together. But it was a very short time before he could read to himself much faster than I could read aloud. So when the story was new and interesting he did not have the patience to listen to me. But he still liked me to read as he had his breakfast or dinner because he hadn't learned the trick of managing a book in one hand while eating with the other.
Since he had already become a voracious reader and had taken control of what books he read, I took this opportunity to read to him the books I thought were good but which he did not think were exciting enough. He didn't mind the book as long as I read to him.
Then came poetry. We have enjoyed reading Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts' and 'Revolting rhymes' any number of times. I think Poetry should be read aloud anyway and if someone enjoys listening, nothing better. It had been a long time since then but recently I discovered Vikram Seth's 'Beastly Tales', a very enjoyable collection of stories written in the form of poems, and I was quite pleased to find that V still enjoys listening to me read. So I have brought home this big book which is a long adventure story written in verse which I hope to share with V. I wonder if it is ambitious. Perhaps. But try I will.


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