The other day Georgie had a much-appreciated day off school so we lazily made our way to Larnaca for some lunch and sea air. Sitting down for a meal with my boy is one of my favourite things to do. Just him and me, it’s something I try to fit in our schedule at least once a week.
But that day I had a sudden urge to buy a magazine and read at lunch while basking in the warm sun. Obviously with a five-year old in tow there was no way that was going to happen the way I pictured it happening. But I did have a trusty old colouring book and pencils with me. You know the one you keep for special occasions such as these. So we sat down for lunch and I opened my magazine and dove straight into an article about the Brexit and how women can affect the vote when Georgie pointed out the word ‘the’. And then ‘that’ and ‘up’. I put the magazine down, took one of his colouring pencils and circled the word ‘and’. ‘What about that one?’ I said. He read it. Loud and clear.
I couldn’t believe I was teaching my son how to read with the help of a fashion magazine! The description of oversized jumpers was jammed with great words. There was ‘big’, ‘short’, ‘long’ and the use of colours, which he is currently learning at school.
I pushed his limits a couple of times by introducing words that perhaps weren’t easy to read but he learnt the meaning of them nevertheless.
I remember reading John Holt’s Learning All The Time when Georgie was just a toddler and realising that kids can learn from anything. Not just picture books. Newspapers, magazines, maps, signs, ticket stubs are all sources of inspiration and growth. The idea is to bathe your child’s eyes in print and they will learn. Even from fashion magazines.