Tag Archives: starting school

The twinlings learn to read

Book Shelf

I had mixed feelings about the twinlings starting to formally learn at such an early age. To me the pace seems pretty ambitious, especially for reading. In many countries the twinlings wouldn’t have started school yet and studies find seven is a good age to start education. That makes sense to me. But despite this research and  my anxieties about pushing them too far to early, the twinlings have taken to reading, numbers and writing with gusto. And so we’re doing our bit at home to help them along.

As big readers ourselves, spending time with books is no hardship. I have this dream of a typical Sunday, where we eat a healthy family dinner, in my daydream Pickle shuns alphabetti shapes and turkey dinosaurs to enjoy a vegetable or two, with no tantrums. Then we go for walk in the countryside, without Ladybird asking where the cafe is and Pickle asking to be carried. And this utopian scene culminates with us returning home and sitting down in a comfortable and companionable silence and reading our books. I can but dream. But as Captain Sensible wisely told us, if you don’t have a dream, how’re you going to have a dream come true?!

Initially they both resisted the idea of having to read their daily school books to me, because it had always been me or QPR* doing the reading. I started off by compromising with them – I’d read it first and then they’d read to me. They gradually got used to this idea and now they’re happily in the routine of reading to us before a bedtime story. There’s also a bit of competition going on between them. Ladybird every now and again pulls ahead and is moved onto the next level and when Pickle catches her up he comes home bursting with pride. Last night she sat next to us while Pickle read and couldn’t help whispering (loudly) the words that Pickle was having to sound out.

One of the other big transitions has been the discussions we’re now encouraged to have about the stories.  It turns out there’s more to learning to read than just the words, things that I take for granted, like which bit is the title, the beginning and the end. But I’m finding it’s too many prompts; What do you think this story is about? Who’s the main character? How would you feel if this happened to you? What’s going to happen next?

It all feels pretty unnatural at times and the twinlings end up ordering me to ‘just read it, read it.’ It’s something I’d like to get better at. There are lots of reading aids and schemes out there all with the aim of helping us to make learning to read fun for our children, so I’m going to be looking at some of them and giving some feed back on how they’ve helped us in future posts.

*DH has undergone a name change to QPR as I was being asked who DH was – his new name shouldn’t leave anyone who knows him guessing!


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Filed under Education, Learning to read

Getting Down to Business

So, a busy week ahead. The twinlings start full days today, the morning sessions so far have been a gentle pre-amble, full days are the real deal. I’m bracing myself for tiredness and attitude. Ladybird told me in a broken voice:

‘But I’m going to be really tired, they won’t let me sleep, they keep making me do things’.

What could I say, other than tell her she’s doing really well and will get used to it, muttering ‘I hope’ under my breath.

And so, while the twinlings are falling asleep in their lunch boxes does this herald some time for mummy to have a well earned rest? A day at the spa perhaps, a spot of shopping, or time to start tackling the clutter? Maybe, but not in this lifetime. Instead this week I’m getting my feet straight back under my desk with a three week stint of copywriting. I’m really excited about working for long stretches instead of a few hours here and there. I got a desk at the weekend; demarking some proper work space, no more kitchen table for me. But as I sit typing and sipping a Chai Tea Latte at Liverpool Street station before my meeting, I wish I was closer to home on their first full day; just in case something goes wrong and I’m needed. But at the same time I know I need to get real; they’re in good hands and there’s every chance I won’t be needed. Not until 3:25pm anyway.

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Filed under Early days