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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reading to children

Tomorrow all the schools in Flanders will have a 'read to' day. They want to stress the importance of reading to children. Our Queen, Mathilde, gave the example by coming to Lokeren where she read to the elderly and youngsters alike.

As a teacher myself, I know how important reading to kids can be. I was a lucky one. I grew up with doting grandparents (both parents were at work when I was little). Both my grandmother and grandfather read to me.

As soon as I could sit on his lap, my granddad read from his French novels. Even though I did not understand what he was saying, I must have absorbed quite a bit, as I can tell you without doubt how the plot of let's say 'La Reine Margot' by Alexandre Dumas is about. Granddad also taught me how to be careful handling things (he was a keen collector of stamps and had some of great value) and how to enjoy a good glass of wine. Well, my mum was quite angry when she found out the last! But of course I stilll like wine a lot...

My grandmother went to the lending library every Tuesday evening. When I was about 2 and a half, she took me along. As we did not have a car, we went on foot. Quite a walk for a small child, but I did not mind - at the end of the walk I got my portion frites with mayonaise!!! And of course I stood in awe for all the large bookcases in the library. Grandma borrowed strips for me, and she read them aloud. Before I was 6 years old, I could read and write, just by looking at all those books and letters.

I also have the ability to 'invent' stories right out of head when I'm minding kiddies. I remember that once at a school I was responsible for the child care after school. I usually had 6 to 10 kids waiting for their mums and I kept them busy not only with games, but also by telling them stories about a beautiful princess and her prince. They fought for a place on my lap (I could manage four of them) and once one little girl told her mother to wait until the story was finished!

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