Ridiculous moments of greatness have flashed by at inopportune times throughout this month. I carry a notebook to capture said moments, only to watch on as I tend to classes and refuse to be distracted by the thoughts floating around awaiting notation. When I do have days off, my mind resembles a fat, lazy, impenetrable rock! A useless piece of nothing that can’t string two words together if it tried. I’m surprised friends and family can hold a conversation with me.
Now that I have exhausted the time set aside for whinging, let me move on to writing. I had an interesting conversation with the Hubble the other day, about encouraging children to read a variety of books. This conversation became more relevant tonight when one of my sprogs was told to improve her reading matter to increase her chances of being successful at writing. This was of course in context during her parent’s evening. She faced her teacher with the usual blank stare I’ve come to know and resent, as good, solid advice was given (an obviously filtered away through deaf ears).
Now my children are not fantastic readers. Okay, my eldest is pretty intense when he comes to reading inappropriate material on politics, religion and anything else above his pay grade. His book recommendations from the Young Adult selection aren’t too bad but lack variety. The rest of them lack the ability to choose good books to increase their knowledge and vocabulary. I sometimes wonder how many parents (not involved in reading/literature in any sense) actually take an interest in what their children read. A few authors who are well renowned have been shoved down our throats by the media as being laureates in the trade, but when I read their work with my sprogs, I despair. The language, grammar and plot leave me lecturing my children on the merits of using the English language for its correct purpose – to communicate properly.
I come from a country where English was a language to be respected, a language to be learnt so that we could communicate with the world. How sad is it that I have to entreat my child to read books older than me to enjoy the proper use of the English language? Before you start lighting your torches and looking for pitchforks to hunt me down, I’m not referring to all literature for young children – just a few over-publicized mainstream writers that have made millions from poor language and severely hindered plots. The books might relate to many children’s lives in this current period, but they add no grammatical value to the skills children will need to recreate their own stories when it is time to write in class.
I can hear the snobbery in my voice and I am sure many will disagree with me, but, ask yourselves, do you want your child to read a book that teaches them incorrect grammar just for their amusement? Shouldn’t we praise and encourage authors who take the time to write stories that have depth, grammar, plot and humour mixed into one? Maybe, just maybe, follow and support a couple of indie authors who fall out of the barrel because they can’t pay for the marketing celebrities can throw at the media just to sell mediocre books.
I guess my ranting will continue on as I fill the Library at school with classics rather than celebrity drivel that is drip fed from the media to parents, to children and into their language and writing. I’m lying – I will still order a mixture of books, but no one can stop me from encouraging the children to read the classics first! Hopefully parents will thank me when their children will discern the difference between, “Let’s eat Grandma!” and “Let’s eat, Grandma!“