Now that the girls are at school I have some time to volunteer, so thought I'd start with listening to the children in Year Two read on a Tuesday afternoon.
I have been assigned six children who I listen to every week. It's rather strange listening to other people's children. I have one at home who reads brilliantly and who has never been frustrated by the process. I have another who is in reception and growing to love reading, but who often has to be handled a bit carefully. Once the screaming starts you can kiss goodbye to knowing whether Biff ever finishes his snowman.
The children I read with at school are all, of course, totally different. Some read well but their comprehension is limited. Some skip over tricky words and ignore me when I request we slow down a bit. One makes burping noises and gets sidetracked with his own six year old boy comedic plot lines. Another starting reading in his head yesterday. I pointed out that perhaps he needed to read out loud to which he sighed and said "I'm recapping". You can't say fairer than that.
We have tried reading in a number of places. The first week we were in the classroom but it was impossible to hear myself think let alone hear the words. This week we read in the corridor outside the classroom which was fine until several children came up and started asking questions like: "what's that thing around your neck?", "why are you here Phoebe's Mummy?". That kind of thing. It was quite distracting.
Well at least they are interested in me. I had been really unsure what the reaction would be.
The first week several of them looked highly uncertain at the idea of me reading with them. The second week they were vying to be first. I started to think perhaps I was actually cool. The third week I realised the ones who were desperate to read with me actually just wanted a distraction from the other work they were supposed to be doing. I felt infinitely less cool.
The only negative with the whole thing is that some weeks I get to hear the same book more than once. When that book is about a parade of lorries I start to drift off a bit.
All in all though it's an experience I'm enjoying. Even if I'm not as cool as I hoped. I daren't offer to read with reception though. But that's a whole other set of challenges especially if they are anything like Phoebe.