The Joy of being Read to
The best person I know at reading stories out loud is my mum. She might just be the best in the world. She does all the voices, she slows down dramatically at the scary bits, she does really long cliffhanger-pauses and she manages to brings the most boring story to life (I know this because I’ve heard her read and re-read the same stories to my niece and nephew and somehow make them interesting).
Mum read aloud to me and my sisters all through our childhood. She read books to us that I would go on to re-read and that are still some of my favourites. Books like The Dark is Rising, Moonfleet and Northern Lights. There was always a book on the go and I’d curl up next to her scanning the pages, even when I thought I was too old to be read to. Because it turns out that you are never too old to be read to.
Nowadays, audio books are much more common and listening to stories being read aloud feels like something you can do at any age. Which makes me happy. Even now, when I’m sick, the thing that cheers me up the most is being read to by my wife. And my favourite moment in a school day is our class novel time, when I read aloud to the class.
We’ve read two books so far this year and we’re now reading our third. It is always the most hushed time in our day. While I read, my class draw, or colour or just listen. And I’ve noticed that some books are much better to read aloud than others.
We’ve read Serena Patel’s Anisha: Accidental Detective which is a hilarious and fast-paced story about Anisha and her best friend Theo’s attempts to find her missing uncle the day before his wedding to Anisha’s aunt. There are countless brilliant twists and turns and my class gave it one million out of ten!
Our second read-aloud book was Lindsay Littleson’s Guardians of the Wild Unicorns which kept everyone on their toes. It’s the tale of Lewis and Rhona who discover a dark plan to exploit a herd of wild unicorns (yes, unicorns!) during a school trip to the Highlands. It sounds magical, but in reality this is a thrilling rollercoaster of a book, as Lewis and Rhona go up against the terrifying Ailsa who won’t hesitate to use her gun to stop them freeing the unicorns.
Today it’s World Book Day and we’ll be celebrating our current class novel – To the Edge of the World by Julia Green. Set on the Outer Hebrides, Jamie makes friends with isolated and independent Mara, who lives a wild life on the island, refusing to go to school. When Jamie tries to stop Mara from sailing by herself to the fishing islands, a wild sea-faring adventure begins. Will they end up on the remote islands of St Kilda? And if they do, how will they ever get back?
Who is the best person you know at reading stories out loud? Is it your dad? Your gran? Your teacher? Your best friend? Or are you the only one who can get the character’s voices just how you imagined them?
This World Book Day, I hope you enjoy listening to a story being read aloud with expression and gusto and dramatic pauses! Remember, you can enjoy being read to at ANY age. Happy reading and happy listening!