My 5 year old, T is in reception class at school and I am extremely proud to say is a real whizz at reading, writing and spelling – Cringe a proud mummy moment, apologies!
T reads anything and everything; adverts, road signs, newspapers, magazines, everything and if it’s a bit too advanced she still gives it go. I will be honest sometimes it gets a bit tedious, but I ALWAYS try to encourage it. On the other hand my eldest daughter, L, who has just turned 11, hates reading. She can read and is actually good at it, but cannot be bothered and finds it boring. I accept this, not everyone is a natural bookworm and each child is different in a variety of ways. My Husband and I have tried in vain to temp L to read more, but she just will not do it.
T’s school actively encourage reading at home, books are sent home with a “reading diary” so we can keep a record of what is read by T and how she is doing. I imagine this is fairly standard in all primary schools these days. We use this and always make a record for her teachers to see. If however I were to write in there all the things T actually read when she was at home, I would be forever filling the blasted thing in and would probably be asking for another one.
Last Sunday evening, I had just sat down to start a book my sister had lent me, “The Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly. I had never heard of it, and it looked quite interesting. (I now know that the book was made into a film in 2011 – a bit behind in the times on that one!) T came and snuggled next to me on the armchair and was asking me about the book, “did it have any pictures?” “Did it have any princesses in it?” etc, the normal things 5 year old girls want to know. I was four pages in to the book when T started reading along out-loud from the top of the page. I was happy to let her carry on with this and was excited that she wanted to. She did remarkably well. T read probably one complete page, it took a while, but I was fine with that; it’s all good practise after all. I decided that I would put a note in her reading diary to let her teacher know, but instead of writing it in the book itself I put a wrote a note on a post-it, just outlining what she had done and letting them know. I thought, naïvely perhaps that they would think this was good progress. I was wrong!
Wednesday afternoon (2 days later!) T came out of school and inside her reading diary was a post-it note in reply, basically saying that T should be reading material more suited for her age, and they have given her more books to read at home. I was a bit dumbfounded, and felt like a criminal, like I should be run out of the school playground and locked up. Had I done the wrong thing by allowing her to read one page from one of my books? Could I have scarred her for life?
I relayed this to my Husband that evening, and he much like myself was slightly stunned. What is age-appropriate for a 5 year old? Only the books the school sends home? Am I only to allow her to read those? Do I have to discourage her from reading anything but those? If I had been sitting reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” then yes I could see where the school was coming from, but I was FOUR pages in a book about an American lawyer – nothing sinister had happened in the book at that point! Lets be honest here, T is only 5 she will not have taken in the story from the page she has read! However, now I each time I pick up my book to continue reading it’s been tarnished, as I get a heavy feeling in my chest, I’ve been made to feel like such a bad parent.
I have yet to speak to T’s teacher about this, and with the parents evening just around the corner I am very much looking forward to!
Do you censor what your children read? Was I wrong to encourage reading an adult book? I would be very interested to hear if this has happened to anyone else or what you would do, if anything? Please leave me a comment, let me know what you think.