This is a quick post, prompted by the observation of people’s behaviour on Twitter – no, not the self-righteous “I’m right because I know everything” stuff about phonics or why Early Years has it wrong or why Secondary Schools are something out of Dickens: all of this is getting tired and lacklustre, ossified opinions led by mansplainers. And since I am given to mansplaining myself, I am avoiding it here in particular. Or trying to.

No, the practice I’m picking up on is following other people’s reading – bookstalking, if we want something more anglosaxon than the title of this post. At the moment I am watching Mat read through The Dark is Rising and report inspirational phrase by inspirational phrase on Twitter; I have similarly seen other people’s reading on Goodreads. Some of them are “my” Brookes Education  students and honestly it fills my heart with joy.

I love this ambiguous relationship between text, reader and the community of readers. In many periods, reading has been a communal activity, either through reading out loud or through the distribution of books in a community; it must have helped create a sense of common enthusiasm, or at least a ground for debate and opinion.  It is wonderful to watch this happening in a Primary class; it was inspiring at the Oxford Reading Spree – and continues to be so, since the event was such a springboard for people to talk to one another; it is great to see people challenging, suggesting and discussing, too, at the Spree and the afterwards – but perhaps what I’m enjoying is simply watching the steps through the forest, seeing phrases I had missed in previous reading or thinking “that looks worth reading.” Not so much “Booktalk” and “Book-stalk.”

Reading, I often forget, is essentially community-based communicative activity, and the community around children’s literature is generous, committed, patient. We are not so far from the communal reading of the middle ages after all.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.