For over a year I’ve struggled to get my eldest to read independently. To be honest that’s not entirely true as he’d happily jump into reading Star Wars encyclopaedias at the drop of a hat. However, with the encyclopaedia, he’d put them back down after a page or two. It was pretty clear that we needed to track down a book that really spoke to him.
With p4 and the step-up in reading it brings on the horizon I realised that he’d need to get more accustomed to longer stretches of reading than he had before. I hunted for books that would pique his interest but every time we simply find another story for me to read to him and his brother (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing).
We hunted and hunted, I trailed him through a serious number of bookshops over the past few months. Then, about a month ago we took a trip to Glasgow, walked into Waterstones, and with the promise of a comfy seat and a hot chocolate he finally reached a decision; George’s Marvellous Medicine.
Picking the book in person had its own charm to it and I think the setting definitely helped. However, the general idea of a boy messing with a grouchy granny seemed to catch him straight away.
It was a favourite of mine when I was his age but I’d forgotten how good it was. George is precocious and empathetic, and also a bit of a chancer. To be honest I think it was a good match for my son’s personality. On top of this the granny (the recipient of the medicine) is a whole new character once you look at her from an adult’s perspective.
My son read the first few chapters aloud but he’s starting to just grab his book, curl up, and read. Last night he skipped bedtime story and just brought the book into bed with him to read by torchlight. The book geek in me couldn’t be happier, but on top of this, I know that what he’s doing will make the change in reading level this year all the easier to keep up with.
It’s a simple book that has been expertly crafted by one of the greatest storytellers I’ve read. Our new challenge will be to find the right book to follow it, but I’ve a feeling that the Roald Dahl back catalogue will keep him occupied for a while.
What were your favourite books when you first started reading? Can you remember any of them still? Let us know in the comments below.
As always thanks for reading, all the best, John