A Reading Adventure…All adventures come to an end.


We are avoiding…

We are nearing the end,  we are avoiding…

My Youngest is thirteen, we have read together almost every night since forever. Sharing brilliant, amazing, funny, sad, wonderful books. It is our moment in time together, he will still drag out the old favourites, ‘That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown’  has probably been read more than any other book, it is old, worn and truly loved. I do a good line in military voices even if I do say so myself. The time is precious and important, Snuggled and  shared.


For my son Reading has been a battle, he finds it hard. It is hard work. That he is able at to hold his own and access the reading in school now is testament to his wonderful teachers, who recognised the problem and intervened, not to forget his incredible sticking power. Reading was always hard, it was a battleground. He was just about coping up to year two then it just didn’t get better. In year 3 and 4 he was desperate to read the bigger books his friends were reading, but couldn’t access them. He watched the gap get larger. He began to actively avoid reading. There were tears and tantrums, and on my side a fair bit of damaged pride. He wouldn’t read, didn’t want to read. Then he got resilient, he dug in and he worked really hard. Through all this I still read to him almost every night. The time-sharing a book became even more important, this was his access into the worlds he wanted to explore. We learnt magic with Harry Potter, we tricked Gollum and escaped the goblins,  we frantically ran from Shrike as he relentlessly chased us. All the time he was immersed in story. While he battled with decoding, we still explored and adventured.

We are avoiding…

One set of books have been key for us. Over the last 7 years we have read eleven and three-quarters of the ‘How to train your Dragon’  series by Cressida Cowell. Snuggled in bed, lost in story. If you don’t know them, actually you missed a pretty wonderful set of books.  We’ve laughed at Toothless the cheekiest of dragons, gasped at the fortune and more often than not the misfortune, wondered how on earth Hiccup can escape his latest predicament, wished on hopeless causes and marvelled at feats of daring-do.

But with the final book we are struggling. We are suddenly avoiding reading, not wanting to get to the inevitable end. We have dusted off picture books that we’ve not picked up in a while, we’ve journeyed into non-fiction to find out about something. Always delaying the inevitable.

We are nearing the end…

I’m not sure if it is just the end of the series that we are avoiding. We’ve talked about how none of his friends have parents reading to them. Will finishing the book be the end of us reading together? Are we at an end. The fact that he can now explore these worlds on his own means he doesn’t need me.

I’m hoping we have a bit more time  and a few more adventures.

We both need to stop avoiding  and face it.

If it is an end, its been hell of a ride.



11 thoughts on “A Reading Adventure…All adventures come to an end.

  1. Yes! A fellow “still reading with their teen” parent!

    We don’t read every night anymore. He doesn’t need me, but we’ve moved on to reading the same books, just not necessarily at the same time, and we talk about them, so we still get lost in the same worlds and stories.

    I might not get the full half hour snuggled together at bedtime, but it’s still booktalk time, and (don’t tell anyone I told you) he still waits for me to tuck him in after our chat and hug 📚 🤗


  2. Try Stroud’s Bartimaeus or Lockwood series, or move up a notch and be thrilled and heartbroken with The Knife of Never Letting Go (Ness) or cringe uncomfortably on the edge of your seat with Ann Turnbull’s Deep Water or Byrne’s Lottery Boy. Break into Pullman’s worlds with Book 2, not the first one and muddle by from there. Get hold of the Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp for some B-movie style trash or look out for the soon to be released See You in the Cosmos (Chown) and be sure not to leave it any longer to be introduced to Calvin & Hobbes unless you already have in which case read them all again. Reeve’s Railhead series are good too as is Here Lies Arthur. Or you could introduce him to Dickens which could be brilliant to be listening to – it works best if you love them and relish the character descriptions yourself though I reckon. I enjoyed Moira Young’s Blood Red Road as an alternative to the usual dystopias of Hunger Games – or seek out Pobby & Dingan which will have you both sobbing. It sounds to me like you want to keep on reading together. Stick at it but find some new directions.


    • Thanks for this. Brilliant suggestions.
      You are the first person I’ve come across who’s read Pobby and Dingan. We read that and wept. Perfect short story, brilliantly told. We love Philip Reeve, we have shared Railhead as well as his Mortal Engines books. We have Black Light Express waiting (I’ve read it already). Love the Ness.

      In fact just a huge thankyou Tony for your brill suggestions. I’m going to try and keep it going. Thinking reading the same book as each other and lots of time to talk at bedtime.


  3. Lovely. Just lovely. Thank you.

    All those years snuggled up with stories have been essential. It’s now I feel this so keenly as our twin daughters left home for university this year.
    “Are we at an end”
    But it’s bearable because, in fact the sharing continues… the inevitable growing up happens and, actually, though I miss them desperately on a daily basis, growing up is brilliant!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.




  4. Pingback: Why Picturebooks are Important…TES article archive #1 | Being Brave! a first time headteachers blog.

  5. What you’ve written is so moving. My wife and I don’t have children yet and sadly, it may never happen, and I think the chance of reading bedtime stories will be one of the biggest loses for me. I think that’s why I found it so moving what you wrote, plus the fact that you wrote it so well. ‘fighting goblins and learning magic.’ Your son is a very lucky boy and it sounds like you are a very lucky father too. May this bond of yours never be broken!


  6. Not every night but I’m still reading to my 18 year old daughter. It gives us a chance to share the books that I loved. It also has always been the best time to get her to open up and talk about things that are bothering her. His friends don’t need to know that you still read to him if he’s self-conscious about it.
    Have you tried the Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage? Or Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins?


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