The other day, I volunteered to take part in a 'reading in schools' initiative. It's something I've been meaning to do for ages, and a couple of weeks ago I finally got of my arse and did something about it. It will involve going into a local school for an hour a week and spending my time helping and encouraging kids to read. Both of my parents are readers, especially my mother, who got her love of books from her father (and he loved books so much that he actually owned a set of library steps!). Not surprisingly then, I grew up surrounded by books and my very earliest memories are of reading. My mum always says that I never travelled anywhere without a book, and although you can now add an iPod to the list of things that I won't go anywhere without, that's still basically true. I still derive an enormous amount of pleasure and satisfaction from books and I try to read as much as I can every day.
Not everybody is as lucky as I was though, and many kids do not have a book filled childhood or parents who have passed on a love of reading. Basic literacy is a hugely important skill, of course, but it's also a source of great pleasure, and I find it awful to think that children might grow up without an opportunity to discover this for themselves. I'm told that even a little bit of time spent with a kid helping them with their reading can really help them come on in leaps and bounds..... so I'm giving up a bit of my time each week and I hope that some of my enthusiasm and love of books will rub off.
I had my training yesterday afternoon, and although we were shown the types of books we will be reading and given a few tips about what to expect and how to behave, the majority of the time was spent filling in police forms. Of course I totally understand why I need to have my records checked to make sure that I'm a suitable person to work with children... you can't be too careful and all that... but when we were taken through the bit about how we should not touch the children or allow ourselves to be touched and how we must never, under any circumstances, allow ourselves to be alone with any of the children, I felt a bit sad. Apparently this is as much for my own protection as it is for the kids, but I'm not sure that makes me feel much better about it. It's all very sensible and practical, I'm sure, but I still feel saddened that we live in a world where these precautions are necessary at all.
...and because that's all very dull and worthy:
My favourite author: Paul Auster
My favourite book: "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving
My favourite "classic" author: Alexandre Dumas
My favourite "popular" author: Terry Pratchett
The character from fiction I have been likened to: Holden Caulfield (more than once actually.... I don't really see it myself)
The fictional character I'm actually most like: Eeyore
The book I was told I simply must read as the voice of the narrator was so like me it was uncanny: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (... so of course, I slogged my way though that and totally failed to see that either).
The character from 'Lord of the Rings' I fancy I'm most like: Aragorn
The character from 'Lord of the Rings' I am probably actually most like: Elrond (particularly the really sulky, know-it-all version portrayed by Hugo Weaving in the films)
I'm off to a wedding tomorrow.... so no earworms, I'm afraid (although my head has mainly been filled with "Me and Julio Down By The School Yard" by Paul Simon this week, if you're interested. I heard it in a vintage clothes shop on the Cowley Road in Oxford the other week and I haven't been able to shake it since).
Have a good weekend y'all.
Me? Well, I finally got home from work at about 10.00 this morning, after about 25 hours solid, so....more sleeeeeeeeeeep. Sleep is goooooooood.
Did I actually do or achieve anything in that 25 hours? hmmm.