Are we the final book worms?

August 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Posted in Daily Life | 8 Comments
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‘I have my reading glasses on mummy, it’s story time’.

This is a thought that struck me this evening at bedtime.  We’ve read to our now three-year old son every night since he was just a few weeks old.  Reaching the age when he was able to go and choose his favourites from the bookcase was a really special milestone.  And instilling a love of books from a young age was something we felt proud to have started.  Secretly we all want our children to be the ones that sit nicely on the carpet when they go to school don’t we?  Do they still sit on the floor actually?  Or would that require a risk assessment?!

We have some special favourites like The Snail and the Whale, Funny Bones, Beans on Toast and Wendy the Wide-Mouth Frog.  Plus the entire range of the ‘That’s Not My’ books and anything Dr Seuss.

I’ve also dug my favourites out of my parent’s loft – Moving Molly (any Shirley Hughes), Where the Wild Things Are, Willy the Champ and Dogger (also Shirley Hughes?).

But tonight I offered the option of a library book or a story on the iPad.  The instant response was ‘iPad story please Mummy’.

My mind then flitted to this morning.  Bear had barely got his round belly into our bed when he lunged for my iPhone from the bedside table and announced that it was time for a game of Fruit Ninga.

It made me feel two no so nice things at the same time – guilty that I check my phone so frequently and a little sad that a phone is his preferred form of entertainment.  I can pretty much guarantee that he’d choose Fruit Ninga or the ice cream catching game of Scoops over a toy anytime.

And it’s our fault of course for allowing it.  But when you’re eating out an iPhone can be a god-send.  We do always pack books, colouring, stickers and card games but the phone always wins.  If you want to finish telling someone a story and eat more than just a mouthful of your tiramisu (it’s not to much to ask to have your cake, and eat it, is it?); sometimes e-toys are a must.

Back to the subject I originally intended to dissect; bedtime stories – I wonder if we’re the final generation of book worms – I mean real paper books with pages.  Pages that, over the years get crumpled and creased, torn and doodled on.

Some of my favourite childhood books have the most amazing early drawings inside the front and back covers.  That’s really special because it shows what stage I was at when the book in question was a favourite.  It some books I’ve even drawn characters that I dreamt about – the dream people that partied at the bottom of the garden after dark.

However, I do have one vote in favour of new technology – the ability to record your child or yourself reading their favourite bedtime story.  That’s pretty cool.  And I’m sure this will escalate from voice only, to video via web cams with the characters of the story joining your child on screen.

My parents have a very early recording of me reading The Foot Book; another Dr Seuss classic I believe.  And I knew it off by heart.  I wonder if the first book bear loves enough to learn word for word will be a real book or an e-book.  If it’s the latter, how will we treasure it and keep it for years and years?  If that was the case I’m pretty sure we’d end up buying a real paper copy for him – to hopefully be passed on down the generations – maybe his grandchildren will ask what it is when presented with it.  Who knows.

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  1. Hello
    We are real book worms at this house too!Chipmunk adores books & is often found with a big pile of books at his side.If given the choice between a book or the I phone tho I know what would win hands down and it wouldn’t be the books!Technology grabs them doesn’t it!And I wonder what the future holds for books!Can you imagine though going to the library and not being able to browse through the books!
    By the way we love all your mentioned books too!Books rule 🙂 in this house anyway!

  2. Geez, I hope not! Definitely a topic worth pondering. One saving grace might be that kids tend to be heven harder on electronic gadgets than they are on books, and books are much more durable and less costly to replace.

  3. We have read to Spud since he was born, I remember two days after he was born trying to read “Guess how much I love you” through hormonal tears. Every night we read to him and he chooses his books and often demands more stories. I have told everyone that I don’t want an e reader because I love the feel of a book but I h have asked Father Christmas for an iPad so pretty sure it won’t be long before there are stories on it!

  4. I could have written this too! We’ve read to Sam since he was a couple of months old (he’s now 3) and he adores books. He’s got a huge book shelf just for his books. I got an iPad2 a few weeks ago and downloaded some books for him, including Sam I Am which actually reads itself to you. Now Sam asks for the book on the iPad rather than us reading to him. I’m glad he’s still interested but it feels wrong for him to be reading it on in that format!

    He also grabs my iPhone and plays games on it. I can’t decide whether to be thrilled he’s advanced with technology or gutted he’s more interested in that than ‘proper’ toys. I suppose when he chooses a computer over jumping in muddy puddles I’ll get worried 🙂

  5. I will admit that my children will also opt for the iphone or ipad given the choice. They love it. They do also love books, but if I’m honest the iphone/ipad would win hands down in a competition…

  6. I am gutted by this post. In my house books will never go out of fashion. I read everyday and have tons of books. I do not like reading on ereaders, albeit one day I will probably have to. My boys love books and I tend not to let them play with the iPad. They play games on my phone but that is it. I will try my hardest to keep the love of books alive in their lives, but yes I get your point and I hope we are not the last generation. It would be so sad. x

    • It would be sad wouldn’t it – a huge part of history. I hope that we never see the day when we don’t have paper books – but it’s imaginable isn’t it!

  7. We do not allow screen time after 6pm, so it is only books at bedtime. We allow their tag readers, as they are real books, but I do not let them have the storio or LeapPad at bedtime. I love books and want the boys to love them as much as I do. The thing is boys love tech and I have even taken to reading novels on the kindle application on my ipad, but do feel that there is room for both books and technology. We also let the boys have stories on CD or ipod as there is nothing better than having a story read to you


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