Reading and Pebbles: thoughts on children’s reading experience’s Part 1

Reading pebbles is the name I have called my blog because it brings together two things I am passionate about children’s books and nature. I am particularly interested in how we can help every child to love books and reading and, ways we can re-connect children and adults with nature. It occurred to me that comparing a pebble with a reader could be an interesting analogy to consider. So here are some comparisons.

Pebbles come in lots of different shapes and sizes. So do books. So do readers

A pebble is a small round stone. You can be hold one in the palm of your hand.

Books are rectangular with straight sides,most cannot be held in the palm of your hand.

But, the experience of reading you can take with you. Books can foster curiosity and imagination. This together with the meaning and understanding the reader takes from the story you can carry with you.

A pebble began its life as a large piece of rock, and its journey to becoming a pebble can be a long one. It is constantly re-shaping and reforming as it goes. When you read a good story you can feel like you have been on a journey to real or imagined places (sometimes both!). The process of becoming a competent enthusiastic reader is a ‘fluid’ one, it may have its twists and turns, rather like a piece of rock bumping along a river bed!

To understand how a pebble has become what it is, we need knowledge about the factors, which have shaped it. Two are particularly important: Firstly, the type of rock. Different type of rocks will erode at different speeds and in different ways. Secondly, several environmental factors interact to break rock into smaller pieces and then smooth the edges into a round stone. These include: rain, wind, waves and sand. Could this analogy be used to consider a reader? Let’s have a go.

Firstly, there is what a child brings with them in terms of life experience and individual reading skills. In this scenario this could be the ‘type of rock’. Secondly, there is the environment in which a child experiences books and reading, I am going to call this the ‘book environment’. I am particular interested in the encouragement of life long readers so imagine in this scenario that the child is aged 6 or more years. The ‘book environment’ is two fold. There is the book itself. Then there is the wider environment, which includes: access to books, knowledge about them and others perceptions (parents, school and society) which can directly or indirectly encourage or discourage a reader.

For me using a natural system as a lense to view a complex human process has been useful. I hope your found it interesting. From this viewpoint you can start to ask all sorts of interesting questions. One of which I will consider in my next post.

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