Adventures in Reading

This week we celebrate Book Week in Austalia and I have invited some wonderful local bloggers to share their reflections on reading with children with us here at Childhood 101. Today it is my pleasure to welcome Ness of One Perfect Day.

The photo above shows my favourite time of the day. No matter how crazy the rest of the day has been, when we snuggle together in the evening for story time, everything else just melts away. I love to watch my son’s face when I’m reading him a story. His eyes dart excitedly over the pages, taking it all in. He listens too! It’s not always easy to make a 4 year tornado of energy sit still long enough to listen, but oh does he listen when a story is being read. He listens so well that he can recite entire stories word for word, and should I happen to make a mistake with even a single word then I will always be corrected!

Story time happens several times a day in our home. We will often take armfuls of books out into the garden, find a shady spot to sit and we’ll read for an hour or more. Sometimes I’ll read to my son at dinner time if he’s resisting his food. It calms him down and helps him to focus so then he’ll eat. Books are just part of our day, every day.

We also like to spread our books throughout the house. The lower two rows of our living room bookshelf are devoted to my son’s books and just recently we put up some bookshelves in his room as well. He was just a teensy bit excited when they went up (!!) and all of his favourites end up there. I love to watch how the collection on these shelves changes as he adds new volumes and takes others back to the living room. I’ve set up a little chair beneath these shelves as well so he has his own little reading nook.

reading with kids

A few weeks ago I bought a new chair for the living room and placed it next to our bookshelves. My son immediately declared the chair to be the “story chair”. I love that the first thing he thought of when looking at that comfy chair was snuggling up and reading books.

We have some wonderful classics in our collection – books from Margaret Wise-Brown, Mem Fox, Mick Inkpen, Oliver Jeffers and all the usual favourites.  As much as I love to seek out these wonderful books for him to read, there’s nothing more wonderful than watching my son on our weekly trips to the library or a special visit to our local bookstore. He will immediately gravitate to the Thomas The Tank Engine or Mr Men books. He is obsessed with both of them! His latest library favourite has been a Lego City early reader which we’ve renewed three times now. We also have some movie tie-in books that we picked up at local thrift stores and the supermarket. These aren’t classics. They can be tedious to read. Yet none of that matters. What matters is that my son wants to read them. What matters is that he is enthusiastic about books.

When my son was just a baby I read Reading Magic by Mem Fox. There were two pieces of advice in her book that I will always remember. Firstly, that no matter what it is your children want to read, even if it is a poorly written, supermarket purchase, let them read it. It’s more important that they want to read and that they are actively engaged. Secondly, that if a child wants to read the same book night after night (after night) then let them and read it to them for the hundredth time with as much enthusiasm as you did the first. So we’ll keep reading our Thomas books, our Mr Men, Toy Story and Little Mermaid stories. It can’t be classics all of the time.

There is one book that I’ve had stored away for my son since before he was even born – The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.  I have such fond memories of having this read to me at bedtime and begging for “just one more page pleeeease!” This book is the reason I fell in love with reading. I read the first chapter to my son recently and he isn’t quite ready for a chapter book yet. I’ll try again in a few months. When I took my copy down from the shelves to photograph it for this post, I opened it up to a random page. This is where it fell open – the opening page of chapter ten entitled “A Few More Adventures” and the closing page of the previous chapter with an illustration of an aeroplane. This so perfectly captures what reading is all about for me and what I hope it will come to mean to my son. Reading can take us on all sorts of adventures and fly us to any place we let our imaginations conjure.

children and reading

Do you have a favourite childhood reading memory? Is there a book from your childhood that you’ve enjoyed reading to your own children?


Be sure to visit Ness at One Perfect Day where she blogs about the playful adventures she shares with her four year old son. You’ll find ideas for art, craft, sensory and messy play, book reviews, ideas for cooking with kids and more!


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  1. Christie, thanks so much for the opportunity to guest post here at Childhood101. It’s such an honour. I’m looking forward to reading all of the Book Week posts this week.

  2. What a wonderful post. You’re so right, reading/story time at night is always the best part of the day – everything else fades in to the distance and it becomes just you, your child and the magic of the book you have chosen.

    We loved the Magic Faraway Tree …. and are now delving in the the Adventures of the Wishing Chair.

    1. Thank you Emma! It doesn’t matter what else has happened that day, or even how hectic the bedtime routine has been that night, once the reading starts, it just becomes magic doesn’t it?

  3. nice article! I too have some Mem Fox advice permanently stuck in my brain (I think it was video footage of her on a reading dvd) saying that you must read to your child for just 10 minutes every day – whilst I have not stuck to it religiously, it has motivated me enough on those days or nights when I am so tired and really not in the mood to read a Miffy or Maisy or police themed story for the upteenth time, to get my head on straight and sit with my son or daughter and spend that 10 minutes reading their choice of book for their sake. And sure enough by the time we finish I am so glad we did it.

    1. Thank you Daisy! It’s a wonderful way to connect even, as you say, when we’re tired and not in the mood. A lot of times I’ll be too tired to play trains or some other game so I’ll suggest a book instead – at least I can just sit there then. 🙂

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who reads to get my 4yo to eat! The 2yo gets bored with the chapter books but nearly 5 loves them! We’ve read some Enid blyton but not as much as I expected because my opinion of it has drastically changed since I was six! Now I’m somewhat horrified at some of the ideals presented. How one changes.

    At the moment we’ve just started The Lion,The Witch and the Wardrobe. Over his head but we had a tantrum yesterday when I wouldn’t read the next chapter!

    1. I feel the same way about some of the ideas in Blyton’s books. I re-read The Magic Faraway Tree in my twenties and couldn’t believe some of the things I was reading. It’s all part of historical context though I guess. Oh I can’t wait to start reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe to my son, and Harry Potter and Roald Dahl, and so many others. That is so adorable about the tantrum – tantrums are never any fun of course, but how wonderful that he loves reading that much!

  5. Pingback: How we make books part of our day, every day | One Perfect Day
  6. Melissa@Julia's Bookbag says:

    What a beautiful post, and so near and dear to my heart! I just got The Magic Faraway Tree to read with my daughter (she’s 6 and a half) and I am beyond excited…because I get to read it too! And it’s a book that escaped me during my own childhood, so this will be a first for me as well!

    Happy reading to all, it’s the best journey anyone can take..:)

  7. Thanks Melissa! Your daughter is exactly the age that I was when I first read The Magic Faraway Tree. I felt so grown up too because it was the first time I’d read a book with almost no pictures. To this day I still think so fondly of all the characters and it really was edge of your seat excitement at the end of every chapter for my six year old mind.

  8. A beautifully written post that hits close to home. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Stephanie! I love to read all of the book related posts you share at Boy Mama Teach Mama. I really appreciate your comment.

  9. We tend to read on the couch, but a story chair sounds like a great idea!

    1. The couch is our other favourite spot for evening story time. We usually start reading there each night, with all three of us together.

  10. What a wonderful post. We too are big readers in our home. Both my husband and I come from “reading” families (our birthday and Christmas gifts tend to be books) and we have been so happy to continue this with our boys. Reading time is such a wonderful time to bond, and as you mention, time to relax and settle down. It has also be wonderful being able to see how their personalities come out in their book selections! Again, such a fantastic post!!!!

  11. What a great post! One of my favorite things to do with my kids is read! I have a hard time when I go to the library because my book bags just aren’t big enough!

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