A few weeks ago I picked up a library book to read with my son. It was a book set up for adults to read one page, and kids to read the other. I started off reading both pages, then when I noticed the easy repetition, let my son take over the kid’s page.
He read the pages. More, he wasn’t just repeating what I had read, he was actually reading.
The moment was a proud one for me, watching my five-year-old starting to read. Seeing him sound out words and putting things together based on what was going on in the story.
As a writer I’ve noticed many differences in the writing of children’s books as opposed to adults (adverbs, enough said). The simplicity in the language is a bit of a culture shock after spending hours working on complex sentences. But hearing the simple words from a child’s voice…magic.
All of a sudden, I’m given a huge amount of respect for the simple words my child can read. I love hearing his voice put the words together and discovering the joys of reading.
Reading is about discovery. Discovering a world, a character, a story. It’s about learning and growing and entertainment. My son sometimes makes up the words on the page, using his deductive reasoning skills to figure out what comes next. Any writer who has found a typo in their thirtieth time reviewing a document knows how powerful those deductive reasoning skills can be!
And I need to be more careful about writing in front of him. The days of joyfully writing a sex scene, or one with foul language, while my son is in the room are numbered. Unless I master the split-second-close-the-laptop maneuver.