One of the wonderful things about being a parent is seeing your children grow in confidence, you don’t always notice the small changes, but when all those small changes add up to a bigger change you do. One of the things my nearly 9 year old has grown in confidence in is her reading. This includes her confidence that she will find another book she likes and her increasing ability to accurately choose books she does like. Both are essential skills in reading for pleasure: a belief that there are stories out there you will love and, the ability to find them. It has been a two year journey to get to where she is now. It is only as she moves into a new phase in her reading that I realise just how far we have come. I say we, because in parallel to her journey I have re-discovered a love of fiction, after reading mainly non-fiction for 10 years. I have discovered I much prefer reading children’s fiction, to adult fiction, and that I especially like middle grade fiction!
My daughter and I have, over the last two years, both become readers. We have discovered authors we had never heard of two years ago, and that there is so much more variety in children’s chapter book fiction than we could have possibly imagined. Yet, what is interesting is that until a month ago, there weren’t any books I had read or suggested to her that she had picked up and read. We have read different middle grade stories.
As an indepedent bookseller I was initially interested in reading children’s books, so I could tell my customers about them. But, then I quickly realised I was picking stories out of my selections that I really wanted to read. Through becoming a reader myself I have a new understanding of what it takes to become a child who wants to read. Most importantly I realise that becoming a person who wants to read is not a linear journey. It is instead a dynamic process with up and downs. I have also discovered that there a multiple routes to becoming a reader, and for many children (adults) this is something that has to be worked at.
It was about two years ago this month, that my daughter discovered the first book she loved reading for herself. That story was Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson, and was very important in getting her reading. You can read about it in my blog post. However, as we were to discover that was just the start of her journey towards reading for pleasure. Along the way there are many things and people that have helped. My decision last May to book us into our first live author events at the Linton Book Festival was one of them, and I will be talking about this in my next blog post. We hope that by sharing some of the things that helped us, that more people will realise there are many ways to becoming a reader and that you may find out something that will help a child you know, in their journey to becoming a reader.