Family Matters by Vicki McLeod
When I was a little girl I loved to read. I read voraciously. I read anything I could lay my hands on. At the breakfast table I would read and then re-read the back of the cereal packets because I wasn’t supposed to read my book at the table. I was never seen without a book. I loved books about ponies and schoolgirls and adventures, about things that happened years ago, and things that may happen in the future. I was a book geek. I had every single Flambards book, plenty of Enid Blyton, all of the Narnia stories, along with lots of other classics and I would dive back into them time and again.
My books have been with me throughout my life. I did consider giving them to a charity shop about fifteen years ago. I gazed at them thinking ‘Why am I keeping these?’ And out of somewhere in the back of my mind came the answer ‘You’re keeping us for your daughter’. Ahh… well at the time I didn’t have a child or even particularly think I would ever have one, so this was a turn up for the books, but nevertheless I thought, okay then, I will hang on to you.
Now La Gidg is in her first year at our local primary school, and her reading in both Catalan and Castillano is coming along very nicely. But my husband and I had noticed that she wasn’t so keen to try to read in English at home, she was happy to have stories read to her but wasn’t so confident about reading to us. We’d tried encouraging her: putting on silly voices, trying out new books, bribery even . . . but nothing had really inspired her until she started to go to the Kip McGrath centre in Son Quint. They specialise in tutoring kids in English and maths and their methods have really helped Gidg to turn the corner from bookshy to bookworm (which makes her geeky mother very proud).
Gidg has been going every Saturday morning for an eighty minute session with teachers Julie Staley and Jay Hirons to get her on the right track with her reading in English. You’d think (well I thought anyway) that it would be pretty simple to get a kid to read in English, but it turns out when they’re also dealing with two other languages then possibly they don’t really want to bother. But the pronunciation of certain letters is entirely different so it is important to get off on the right foot. So with a great reward system (we’re now the proud owners of a completed star chart and some very swish new colouring pencils) the Kip method (including playing specially designed computer games, drawing and reading aloud) over the last ten weeks has worked like a charm. Last weekend without any prompting I found Gidg holed up in her bedroom pouring over a book (she’s into mermaids and animals) rather than watching the Evil Tiny Pops on the TV so that’s a 100% result as far as I am concerned.
So, after all these years, my childhood books will be getting their airing after all, I think it’s going to have been worth their wait.
You can find out more here: http://spain.kipmcgrath.com