If I've been sounding a bit gaga lately - in the nice sense of the word - there may be a good explanation: we're the proud godparents of identical twins! Let me introduce you to Roman and Simon, who were born here in Lyon in February.
Aren't they gorgeous? It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell them apart and I fear that I will never get it right. Luckily the parents have decided they will be dressed differently!
As you can see, we are getting in early with the whole book thing - you may laugh, but they actually do pay attention and seem to enjoy the experience of having something read out to them.
Which brings me on to something I've often pondered. Are we taught to become book lovers and avid readers, or is it something in our genes, in our individual make-up? Will a child who is often read to and surrounded by books go on to adore them later in life? Is a child who is not encouraged to read or treasure books likely to fall in love with them when they're an adult? I'm sure there are many opinions on this. I have friends who say they don't read books because they were never introduced to them as a child. I have other friends who say they are book fanatics but don't know why: their parents didn't read, there were no books in the house and they hated reading at school.
In 2005 the National Literary Trust in Britain carried out a survey of 8,000 pupils from 98 schools in England, producing these interesting findings:
Half the sample of pupils said they enjoy reading either very much or
quite a lot and rated themselves as proficient readers.
The majority of pupils read every day or once/twice a week.
Almost half the sample believed that they were reading enough. A fifth of
pupils stated that not only were they not reading enough, but they also
would not want to read more.
Pupils generally held positive attitudes towards reading - agreeing with
statements that reading is important and disagreeing with statements that
reading is boring, hard, or for girls rather than boys.
Pupils indicated reading a diverse range of materials outside class, which
included texts other than books. When asked specifically about fiction
preferences, adventure, comedy and horror/ghost stories were the most
frequently chosen types.
Most pupils read in the bedroom, followed by the classroom and the
When asked why they were reading, most pupils indicated that they read
because it is a skill for life, it helps them find out what they want/need to
know and because it is fun. Only a fifth of pupils read because they have
Pupils said that they would read more if they had more time, if they
enjoyed it more, if books were cheaper and if books were about subjects
they were interested in.
When asked what activities would encourage them to read more, half the
sample stated that designing websites/magazines, meeting
authors/celebrity readers and reading games would motivate them.
Rating books and writing book reviews were only motivating for a fifth of
Over 80% of pupils reported that it was their mother who had taught
them to read, followed by their teacher and their father.
Almost half the pupils never or almost never talked with their family
about what they were reading. Their mother, father and friend were the
top three people with whom pupils discussed their reading. Their mother,
teacher and father were also the most frequently cited reading partners.
Pupils also believed that their mother spends more time reading than
A quarter of pupils reported that their father never spent any time
Pupils stated that their mother encourages them to read more frequently
than their father.
Finally, when asked who should teach them to read and who should
encourage them to enjoy reading, the majority of pupils stated that these
should be done by both the home and the school.
So, it goes without saying that Roman and Simon can look forward to lots of books from us in the future! We also plan to always hit home the importance of reading ... in French and English, of course.