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#Blogsync for July asks us to look at the influence that books have had on our lives. You can see all the blogs on this subject by visiting @Edutronic_Net and looking at blogsync. 

I met up with my good friend @clyn40 for drinks in our local pub on Thursday last week and we discussed several twitter related items. First up was @cazzwebbo’s ‘Sweet Dreams Charity Calendar’ and we discussed her sheer hard work in getting this off the ground. Well done to her! Next we chatted about #starkeyfest2 and our forthcoming trip to Leeds. We’re both looking forward to this. Watch out Leeds, we’re coming your way! Lastly, we discussed #blogsync and books. We decided it might be a bit different to do a joint one for this month as it’s the holidays. We hope no one minds. 

When I was growing up our house was always full of books. My Mum was an avid reader. She was a member of 2 libraries and brought home the maximum of 6 books each time she visited. She was always reading. She’d have a book on the work top as she was cooking our meals, there was one in the bathroom for when she took a bath and one for watching TV with. To say she loved books might be a bit of an under statement. 
My Mum taught me to read before I went to school. I was a fluent reader by the time I arrived in the infants. I was already discovering the delights of Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ and ‘The Secret Seven’ and I loved it. Books were what I did. Other children watched TV and played on bikes while I read books. I played out too but was happier reading a good book. 

In contrast to this Carolyn told me that it was her Dad who made her interested in books. He used to write his own short stories for her and her brother with a moral in the tale. How lovely is that?! One such fairy story he wrote was about a girl who wanted to keep her hands perfectly clean and tidy. She refused to do the washing up and any cleaning in case she ruined her hands. One day, after refusing to help she was turned in to a mole and had to use her hands to dig in the soil. The perfect hands were certainly ruined then. Her Dad also used to read ‘Peace at Last’ to her and her brother after a long day and he would tape them doing the sound effects to the story. I love the sound of that. This particular book was one of the first ones Carolyn ever read to her children as it holds a special place in her heart. 

Tales such as her Dad’s fictional ones made Carolyn interested in writing short stories. She does this purely for pleasure and as an outlet for her emotions. 

So now we’re all grown up and we’re both teachers. What do we read now? Again our reading habits are very different. I still read many books. Thanks to my Mum’s influence I’ve always got a book on the go. They tend to be fiction ones to help me try and switch off from work. When I go on holiday I will easily read 6 books in a week, such is my love of reading. I absolutely adore it. I try to read educational books but to be honest I’m not good with them. I buy them and then forget to read them. Or I read one section and forget about the rest of it. I keep up to date with what’s happening through twitter and through CPD so don’t think I’m out of touch please. This weekend I have bought and started ‘7Myths’ and I’m determined to see it through to the end. I’ve only done this because of all the hype surrounding it. I can’t speak with any authority on a book I’ve never read. It has to be read. 

Carolyn on the other hand reads a fair amount of education books. She’s a good girl! She told me that when she was training she read everything she could, all the different theories and thought many were just common sense. She is far more selective and definitely more sceptical these days with her education reading. Carolyn tells me she does very little reading for pleasure. She is often too tired after all day at work and looking after her children. Sleep is more important. She did say she enjoyed Stephen King’s book on writing where he tells how he got in to writing. I’ve not read that one, must seek it out. 

So there we have it. Two teachers with different reading habits. Carolyn teaches English and tells her students regularly about the value of forming good reading habits. In my case, my love of reading shows in my teaching. I teach very poorly children, many of them will never be able to read or even hold a book for themselves. That doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a good story. They love it. I teach them Shakespeare and other academic books. It takes enormous effort to translate Shakespeare in to a book able to be understood by those who are on P Levels. But I do it because they love it. I also never ever give up on them reading. I continue to teach phonics and whole words until they leave us at 19 years old. I believe that reading is the greatest gift we can ever give to a person. It opens up a whole new world for them. 

Thank you for reading our joint blog 🙂