The joys of non-fiction

So tonight we took a break from Stig of the Dump and looked through each and every page of Toby’s kid’s atlas.

Not all kids like stories, and in our efforts to be “good parents” we can push fiction down our kids’ throats and forget that there is just as much literacy value in factual books.

Toby’s uncle is travelling the world and it’s rejuvenated his interest in far-flung places, and in particular the dangerous creatures you find there. Don’t ask.

We had a really lovely bedtime discussion, prompted by the atlas, about different countries and the animals and types of people that live there, plus all the corresponding facts about the world’s longest river or longest mountain range.

I learnt how much knowledge Toby has absorbed over the years. All those trips the museum haven’t gone to waste as I witnessed him recall sights he’d seen there, prompted by the pictures and facts he saw in the book.

I also learnt how good his reading is. When I try and force him to read his school books, he often shows little interest and stumbles over words and sentences and gives up far too easily. Tonight, reading something he had chosen, he was perfectly fluent and showed real skill and confidence in tackling challenging words.

Now, I just need him to put his thoughts of shark-infested waters or desert scorpions to one side, and get some sleep!

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