I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read. I can vaguely recall books with animals called Nip and Fluff, and children called Dick and Dora, which were the first books I learned to read at school. But I don’t remember the learning. The progression from simple words to complex ones. The progression from reading to writing. In my mind, one day there was Nip and Dick and the next I was writing poetry and reading The Famous Five. Except I’m sure that’s not what happened.
I’ve been thinking about this because my eldest daughter is now at pre-primary and thus embarking on her very own reading and writing adventures. Because she loves books, she is desperate to read. But because repetition is boring, learning to read is turning out to be not as much fun as she thought it would. She would like to bypass Fluff and Dora – or whatever the cats and girls are called these days (Sienna and Sparkles perhaps?) – and go straight to The Famous Five.
I never thought having a good memory could be a bad thing for learning. But it is when you’re learning to read, because she only needs to read an early reader book once to remember the words on each page. So the second time she ‘reads’ it, she’s not really. She’s just repeating the words she’s committed to memory. So I either have to buy a lot of books and resign myself to her only reading them once or find another way.
So I googled Nip Fluff Dick Dora. And of course I found them. They’re collectible now apparently. Full sets of stories about children from a perfect family playing outside with their animals, not a television or a computer in sight. So I thought, what the hell. They were good enough for me.
I’ll be staking out my letterbox in about five days time in case anybody else wants to pinch my collectible, mud-stained, contact covered, ripped pages set of nostalgia. It might not solve the reading problem, but at least I’ll be having fun trying!