Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Category: Fathers story week

Storytelling dads – Richy Black

fathers-story-week-logoThis is it, the final post to celebrate Fathers Story week, people often say that they left the best to last, but in this case we haven’t. We do however have a fine gentleman to finish off this series of guest posts from storytelling dads, one that drove for over an hour just to watch me kayak across a loch at the end of the Scotland coast to coast.  That makes him a top bloke in my book!

You may also know him from his starring role in the 12 dads of christmas where he displayed his amazing keyboard skills. He also writes a pretty awesome blog called the only boy in the house which as you might guess from the name is all about his life as a dad to 2 daughters.

So here without further ado is the final set of answers from a storytelling dad, I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, I’ve certainly enjoyed reading them. If you’re a dad reading this and don’t read to your kids then maybe this might have inspired you to give it a go, if you’re a parent who already loves reading with your children then perhaps you’ve found some inspiration for new books to read.

Also one final mention for my run for charity, next month I’m running 100km along the Ridgeway to raise money for Save the Children. My main reason for choosing them is their change the story campaign which is all about giving the UK poorest children the chance to have a good education and specifically learn to read. If you are like the dads who have featured this week and think storytelling and reading are essential for all children then I’d love for you to sponsor me and help Save the Children with this important campaign. You can find my sponsorship page here.

1. What’s the best thing about reading to your children?

Being out of the house all day, five days a week, anything that involves spending time with the kids is special, and reading to them is extra special because it’s such an intimate thing. Reading together is also a great way to see them progress – from completely passive, to looking at pictures, to reacting to the words, and now, with Heather, being able to read some of the words all by herself. Amazing!

2. Where do you read to your children?

Anywhere and everywhere, but mostly in their rooms at bedtime, or on the sofa.

3. All dads like doing voices when reading, what’s your party piece when it comes to impressions?

The one which springs to mind – and it’s one I haven’t read for a while, because it’s often too long for bedtime – is The Troll by Julia Donaldson. It’s two stories in one, one about a troll and another about some pirates, and the stories come together at the end. The troll always gets this gruff, East End of London voice (Gregg Wallace from Masterchef, but a bit more sinister) and the pirates get these terrible pirate voices that probably sound nothing like they do in my head. Amusingly, after we’d had this a while I discovered that Gem had independently given the troll the same voice I did!

4. Favourite book from your childhood?

Can I pick more than one? I’d have to say the Mr Men books, which have now been passed on and our kids enjoy them too

 

5. What’s your children(s) favourite book now?

They both like pretty much anything by Julia Donaldson, which is handy because they’re all good. Heather also loves a bit of poetry, and has an AA Milne collection plus another from various authors including Robert Louis Stevenson. Special mention also has to go to Penguin by Polly Dunbar – although I haven’t read it for ages, it was a favourite of both girls for a good while, and I can’t leave it out.

6. Last book you read them?

I think the last thing I read either of the girls was a poem from one of Heather’s books, called My Shadow (http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/my-shadow). It’s by Robert Louis Stevenson, and is probably her absolute favourite poem.

7. Book that your children love but you secretly hate?

Fortunately for me, I can’t actually think of one! I don’t know if that says more about me or the kids… or if I’ve just been very good at steering them away from books I didn’t like the look of/had read far to often in a short space of time. Gem really can’t stand the collection of Dora the Explorer stories, but even that doesn’t bother me. Apart from the one that’s written in the third-person which, for me just doesn’t work. Maybe that’s my answer!

Storytelling dads – Tom Briggs

Friday is here, the weekend is in sight and it’s time for the 5th entry in this series about storytelling dads to celebrate Fathers story week.

Today I have a guest post from Tom Briggs to share with you, Tom is a dad blogging legend who apparently won a blog award before parent blogging had even been invented. Tom blogs at Diary of the Dad and is also a member of the love all dads podcast. Here’s his answers to the now familiar questions to give a little insight into the reading he does with his children.

If you missed the first 4 posts in this series you can find them here.

1. What’s the best thing about reading to your children?

It’s a great way of spending time with them and, as my two sons, Dylan and Xander, are hurtling towards a stage where they don’t want to be hugged as much, is a good way of tricking them into cuddling up. Plus I can legitimately say I’ve finished reading hundreds of books as a result – I didn’t read much until they were on the scene!

2. Where do you read to your children?

For the most part, I read to them at bedtime. We sit together on one of their beds and they choose three stories. That’s the theory anyway… it normally gets to five or six before they allow me to turn the light out!

3. All dads like doing voices when reading, what’s your party piece when it comes to impressions?

I give every character a different regional accent, but it’s tricky to pick a favourite – Geordie, Welsh and proper old Sussex are up there though. In terms of impressions, I don’t really do many of actual people, but we recently read Eric Carle’s “Slowly, slowly, slowly,” said the sloth and I gave him the voice Ralph Brown uses in Wayne’s World 2. Albeit minus the reference to obtaining 1,000 brown M&Ms to put in a brandy glass…

Tom reading4. Favourite book from your childhood?

There were so many books I loved as a kid. One of my favourites, though, was Dogger. It’s a shame the word has new connotations now as it’s a story I very much related to as I temporarily lost my favourite toy – a cuddly dog – at least twice. I remember being so upset and the book really captured the sense of loss children have when their special toys go missing and, happily, the joy of being reunited with them.

5. What’s your children(s) favourite book now?

They both love all the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books, but their favourites change from one week to the next. At the moment though, Dylan’s favourite is Superworm and Xander’s into Room on the Broom.

6. Last book you read them?

It was That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown which we got out from the library. They both loved it and knew it word for word by the time we had to return it!

7. Book that your children love but you secretly hate?

This is going to be controversial, but I’m going to say the Mog series. I loved them as a child, but can’t see beyond the out-of-date attitudes towards gender roles now. I know they’re a product of their time, but it still irritates me and I think that Mr Thomas is an awful person. To balance this out, I will say that Judith Kerr’s other famous title, The Tiger Who Came to Tea remains a family favourite.

Storytelling dads – Sam Coleman

Welcome to Thursday and the 4th post in the series to celebrate Fathers story week, if you happen to have missed the first 3 posts you can find them here. Today I have the great pleasure of sharing a guest post with you from Sam Coleman who writes a beautifully written blog called Dust and Love which is about his life as a dad.

He’s also now a published author having released a book on parenting last year called Sometimes you have to bite the dog. So if anyone is qualified to talk about storytelling dads then I think it might be him. So here without further ado is Sam’s thoughts on reading with his daughter.

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1. What’s the best thing about reading to your children?
Hearing her laugh. Any blackened, hate filled day is filled with light if I can make her laugh.

Reading is great for playing with words, visualisation and finding confidence in expressing yourself. And it’s not about the words or the pictures on each page. It’s about how you can enhance the story by using your imagination which, in turn, gives your child the tools to create their own stories.

Storytelling gives access to the imagination and encourages free creative thinking. It also creates memories that will last a lifetime. My father openly cries when I read the same books to my daughter as he did for me when I was her age. Storytelling is fundamental to the growth of the creative spirit. Only you can teach your children how to tell their own stories.

Start a sentence with “once upon a time” and let them fill in the blanks. You don’t need a book to tell a story.

2. Where do you read to your children?
Mostly her bedroom but it depends on her mood. She’s a big fan of reading when she’s on the potty.

3. All dads like doing voices when reading, what’s your party piece when it comes to impressions?
I do a good upper middle class, teeth whistling accent. It sounds like Brian Sewell after a bottle of red wine. My monster voices (which I love doing) are a bit much for her sometimes. But I do think it’s important to scare your children as well as making them laugh. Understanding fear is important.

Sam reading

4. Favourite book from your childhood?
“Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr Seuss

5. What’s your children(s) favourite book now? 
Animus by Seonna Hong. It’s a visual circus with a sobering backdrop. Chilling and delightful. She loves it

6. Last book you read them?
I started reading an HP Lovecraft short story but she ended up running out the room.

7. Book that your children love but you secretly hate?
Anything with fairies in it. I don’t like fairies. I’ve never understood quite why.

So what do you think? Agree with Sam’s selections? What book do your children want to read over and over again?

Storytelling dads – David Inglis

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time for the 3rd post to celebrate Fathers’ Story Week which if you missed the first two posts (where were you?) is a week long celebration of the power of dads’ reading with their children.

On Monday I shared my story about reading to my children and yesterday Darren kicked off the guest posts from some of my favourite dad bloggers. Today is the 2nd guest post and this time from David who I feel like I’ve known forever because we both started blogging around the same time and Matilda is just a few weeks older than his daughter. I’ve also had the pleasure of staying with him and his family in Scotland last year while we were up there on holiday. Alas he’s recently decided to stop blogging so I’m very pleased he came out of writing retirement to guest post here!

1. What’s the best thing about reading to your children? 
The cuddles.

2. Where do you read to your children?
We read exclusively at bedtime. I would love to do it during the day but O has no interest.

3. All dads like doing voices when reading, what’s your party piece when it comes to impressions?
Either the troll from Billy Goats Gruff or The Gruffalo.

4. Favourite book from your childhood?
If I think back it was always Basil The Great Mouse Detective. I don’t even know it if was a proper book!

5. What’s your children(s) favourite book now?
At the moment it is any of the Olivia series. They are books about a pig called Olivia and her family. Minus the pig part they mirror our lives frighteningly well…

6. Last book you read them?
Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake.

7. Book that your children love but you secretly hate?
Olivia loves a Postman Pat book. It’s actually a really annoying story and it doesn’t flow at all meaning Im stuttering all over the place. So I just adlib to shorten it and she doesn’t seem to mind.

Do come back tomorrow for the 4th post in this series and of course would love to hear your stories about reading with your children.

Storytelling dads – Darren Coleshill

It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for the 2nd post to celebrate Fathers’ Story Week which if you missed yesterdays post is a week long celebration of the power of dads’ reading with their children. Yesterday I shared my story about reading to my children and over the next 4 days I’ll be sharing some posts from my favourite storytelling dad bloggers. We start today with Darren who blogs at One dad 3 girls as well as being the brains behind Love All Dads.

1. What’s the best thing about reading to your children?  From a very young age we’ve always made sure we’ve read to the girls whether during the day or before bedtime. It’s been a great time to bond with them and I think it’s encouraged them to want to learn about what’s going on in the stories.

2. Where do you read to your children? As the girls have grown and got older storytime is now just before bedtime. It’s the lasDarren readingt thing we do before they go to bed.

3. All dads like doing voices when reading, what’s your party piece when it comes to impressions? I am always getting told by my wife to read the stories without silly voices but no one can read The Gruffulo without doing the voices.

4. Favourite book from your childhood? I was never a big reader as a child and didn’t really get read to but I do remember enjoying the Roald Dahl books.

5. What’s your children’s favourite book now? As Aly is now at school she gets all her books from school so they change a few times a week but given the chance the girls would pick books like The Smartest Giant in Town or Some Dogs Do

Aly reading

6. What was the last book you read to them? The last book I read to them was one of the old Mr Men books.

7. What book do your children love but you secretly hate? There’s none that we read at the moment that I hate but some of the older one’s like Spot or the Charlie and Lola books I really hate.

As you know I’m passionate about the importance of books in children’s lives and in particular the role that dad’s can play in sparking the enthusiasm for books in their children. Which is why in July I’m attempting to run 100km to raise money for Save the Children and their campaign to get children in poverty the same access to books and reading that we take for granted. I’d love it if you’d sponsor my run even if it’s just a couple of pounds, you can find my sponsorship page here.

Storytelling dads – my story

Every week appears to be a ‘week’ for something these days, the latest craze in the world of marketing and why not? Why limit a campaign to just a day when you can dedicate a whole week to it? Most of these of course pass us by but I thought this week was a good one to take a moment to recognise. For this week is Fathers’ story week, a celebration of the power we can have as dads when we read with our children. How we can inspire a love of reading and books in them with just a few minutes a day, a love that can make a huge difference to their learning and development as they grow up. It’s also a really good way for dads to bond with their children especially if like me you’re out of the house most of the day at work.

Ben reading to Henry and Matilda

You of course already know how much I enjoy reading with my 2 little monsters and how much they love books. Matilda helps me with regular book reviews on here to share the latest books she’s read and we have a house full of books. Well obviously not full, there is some space for sleeping and eating but I think ever room has at least a small pile of books in the corner as does the car.

This is also one of the reasons why I’m running 100km next month to raise money for Save the Children and their Change the Story campaign which aims to give the poorest children in the UK the chance to have a good education. The starting point for this is to teach them to read and share with them the joy of books so that they have that basic skill that most of us now take for granted.

So I thought I’d add my own contribution to Fathers’ story week by firstly sharing today my reasons for loving reading with my children so much and then secondly over the next 4 days 4 of my favourite dad bloggers will share their own stories. I’d love to hear about your favourite book to read with your children or for that matter the book you most dislike reading to them! If you want to learn more about Fathers’ story week you can click on the logo below.

1. What’s the best thing about reading to your children? 
The cuddles, although that’s a little selfish isn’t it? But it is one of the few times I can guarantee they’ll snug up and actually sit still for a few minutes. Nothing more fidgety than a toddler is there? I also love seeing the excitement on their faces as we read a book they love.
2. Where do you read to your children? 
Everywhere! Always on our bed at bed time snuggled under the duvet (Henry insists we get IN the duvet!) but if you sit down anywhere in our house chances are one of the children will hand you a book to read.
3. All dads like doing voices when reading, what’s your party piece when it comes to impressions? 
A do a mean owl impression and can also turn my hand to a West Country accent. In fact many of my accents start as they should and end up as West Country.
4. Favourite book from your childhood? 
Richard Scarry books are the earliest ones I can really remember but after that my childhood memories are filled with Road Dahl (hence Matilda!), Enid Blyton and Tin Tin.
5. What’s your children(s) favourite book now? 
LOVE anything by Shirley Hughes ( I may have written a whole post on that love a while ago) but in particular Dogger.
6. Last book you read them? 
Cinderella, Matilda’s current obsession.
7. Book that your children love but you secretly hate? 
I don’t hate any of their books and I definitely haven’t given any to a charity shop before to get rid of them….
Matilda and Henry reading
Do let me know what you think about dads reading and who does the reading in your house. Also if you, like me, think inspiring children to read is really important then you could always sponsor me on my 100km run and help raise money for Save the Children by simply clicking here for my fundraising page.