Saturday, 5 June 2010

F******* toads and light to medium flow - the perils of phonic reading...

I am an insatiable reader and always have been. I was the kind of child who was always being urged to 'go out and play, it's a nice day'. All I wanted was to sit in my room and read about Darrell and her adventures in Mallory Towers, or hide away up in the bower with Katy and the rest of the Carr children and drink weak vinegar-and-water. I lived for Thursdays when my Mandy and Judy and Tracy comics would be delivered by the paperboy.

Five year old O has inherited this love of reading, which thrills me no end and he's really rather good too, which makes my little librarian heart sing.We sit and read to each other, I share some of my childhood favourites and discover new ones with him. Sometimes I catch him sitting quietly in his bedroom with his head in a book, totally engrossed and I grin to myself, remembering the pleasure of childhood reading.

However, there is a downside to the reading child. A few weeks ago I posted this photo on Twitter. It's a political cartoon strip by Steve Bell from the Guardian. It was a school morning and O was getting ready for school. I was polishing his shoes and he was putting on his coat and reading the comic strip. All was well until he got to the final panel. Obviously, due to the excellent phonic learning he has received at school, he was f****** word perfect...

Hmmm. I quickly removed the offensive cartoon from the area and chivvied him off to school. There was not a mention of this impromptu reading in the homework diary...

A few weeks later, we were upstairs. I was in the bedroom, O in the bathroom, supposedly brushing his teeth. All was calm and peaceful as I put away the ironed clothes. I stopped in my tracks as a clear little voice was heard, piping up from the bathroom:

"Light to medium flow, medium to heavy flow, heavy flow..."


  1. Bless him. I remember mine reading the back of public toilet doors (in their little squeaky voices), and coming out of the cublicle absolutely mortified in the knowledge that the whole loo now knew that 'Bernadette is a slag'. Parenting eh? Never dull x

  2. English Mum -hee! That is funny - poor Bernadette. I can assume this will only continue - and the Guardian does not censor its swearwords. I shall have to start taking the Mail or similar...

    Thank you for overcoming my blog comment form horror. Hopefully AndyD is going to create me some jazzy new version of this cobbled together blog and I shall be all glittery and special. Much like your Royal Cakieness!

  3. That's hilarious! How funny. And mortifying at the same time....

    I loved Darrell at Malory Towers. And I got the same comics - started with Twinkle, and eventually ended up with Jackie.

    I'm a voracious reader too and I'm so glad my son is too. There's a lifetime of pleasure for him. He's speedy too - raced through Harry Potter and then all the Percy Jackson books. He's 10. The little one always wants a bedtime story too. It's one of the best parts of the day. Unless it's Spot the dog.

  4. Oh I loved Enid ... though my primary school teachers didn't. And of course the Adventure series and definitely Mallory Towers with Darrell Rivers ... my fav :)

    My chemo threw out any need for "Light flow ... medium flow..."!

  5. deerbaby - great to hear about your son still loving reading. You are right about the lifetime of pleasure. There is nothing like being lost in another world when you're reading. I clapped my hands when I saw you had the same comics! I started with Twinkle too. Do you remember Little Maid Marian? I am sure it was a bit grim...

    Paula - ah, the Adventure series! So good - sometimes dig out my old Blytons for a bit of nostalgic comfort. It always works a treat. Re the flows - chemo did halt everything for a while, but now back with a vengeance.