Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Let's read a book......

From the first week of Charlotte's birth, her dad and I told her stories and read to her.  Billy is better than I am at making up stories, because he has the gift of the gab and can ab lib better than anyone on the stage.  Right from when she was a three pound premature baby still in the prem baby unit, she was hearing about the fairies who lived in the carrot patch...... a sort of mix of Brambley Hedge and Thumbelina!  And I really believe she was taking it all in as he cradled her in the palms of his hands.

Charlotte grew up loving books, through toddlerdom and right through primary and junior school...... until she was nearing her teens.  Then the computer took over.  Little Women was displaced by Facebook and Jane Eyre was ousted by Twitter.  Not a book was to be seen in her room anymore - just piles of pop magazines and her laptop.  The realisation that Charlotte was no longer an avid reader saddened me.  I thought of the times in Waterstones bookshop when I couldn't prise her away from the children's section.  "I don't like reading," she told me when I offered to buy her a book on a shopping trip.  What happened?  Where did it all go wrong?!

When we took over the responsibility of Charlotte's education, I determined that we would read a chapter of a book daily. I believe that just by reading words on a page helps with spelling and reading an enjoyable book is both relaxing and stimulating. We take it in turns to read a couple of pages or so.  We started off with Malory Towers by Enid Blyton, but I have to admit it wasn't doing anything for me.  "Whoa, wait a minute!"  I hear you cry. "It's supposed to be for Charlotte's benefit, not yours."  Yeah, but I want to enjoy our reading too....... so I gave her Malory Towers to keep for herself to finish it on her own and we started another one.  It's called The Intruders by E. E. Richardson.   

Here's what it says on the inside jacket:

"Joel Demetrius is quite looking forward to moving in with his new step-family, but as far as his sister Cassie's concerned, they're nothing but intruders.  She doesn't want anything to do with Gerald and his two sons, and to make matters worse their new home is a derelict old house, neglected for decades.  Joel thinks it's interesting.  Cassie thinks it's a dump.

But his sister isn't the only reason the house doesn't feel like a home.  As fascinated as he is by the place, Joel has to admit there's something not quite right about it.  Not only does he keep seeing things out of the corner of his eye, but his sleep is plagued by nightmares.  He can't seem to stop dreaming about a terrified boy who keeps repeating the same fractured prayer:

If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take......

As events in the house become harder and harder to explain, it seems that the line between nightmare and reality is getting steadily more blurred.  And when the battle between Cassie and her stepbrothers draws everyone deeper into the mystery, all four kids are forced to confront the question of just who the intruders really are."

This is more like it........ I can hardly wait until tomorrow to read the next chapter! 

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