Sunday 13 March 2011

Chinese Water Torture And Reading Aloud

Chinese Water Torture is the popular name for a specific type of torture in which water is slowly dripped onto a person's forehead, driving the restrained victim insane. I imagine it was very effective although the Chinese have clearly never read aloud to my children.
You may not believe this because of the stuff I waffle on about, but I have a degree in English Literature. I am obsessed with books. So one of my top parenting objectives has always been to introduce my children to the wonderful world of literature and where better to start than the land of children's books. And because they are getting older, we have progressed onto reading chapter books at bedtime whilst The Toddler has his milk.
I am loving it because there is no more reading the same picture book with five words again and again until I fall asleep and the children are still bouncing off the walls. Plus I am really good at doing all the voices - especially American and the Villain.
At the moment we are reading 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory' which is fantastic because I am a massive Roald Dahl fan. However I am starting to wonder if this is the right thing to do - just because I am loving Mr Dahl it doesn't mean that my children are going to. After starting Chapter 15 tonight, I want to share with you my experience of bedtime reading aloud to my children. It goes something like this:

Chapter 15 - The Chocolate Room.
"An Important Room, This!" cried Mr Wonka, taking a bunch of keys from his pocket and slipping one in the keyhole of the door.

"This is the nerve center of the whole factory, the heart of the whole business! And so beautiful! I insist upon my rooms being beautiful! I can't abide ugliness in factories! In we go then! But do be careful, my dear children! Don't lose your heads! Don't get overexcited! Keep very calm!"
Mr Wonka opened the door. Five children and nine grownups pushed their ways in - and oh, what an amazing sight it was that now met their eyes!
They were looking down upon a lovely valley. There were green meadows on either side of the valley, and along the bottom of it there flowed a great brown river.
What is more, there was a tremendous waterfall halfway along the river - a steep cliff over which the water curled and rolled in a solid sheet, and then went crashing down into a boiling churning whirlpool of froth and spray.
At this point I have to restrain my own arms from stabbing myself in the eye repeatedly with a bookmark. I am willing to tell all my secrets to my tormentors. Chinese Water Torture seems like a much more relaxing way to pass the time.

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