However, I have developed a response over the years. When I was tiny I adored The Enchanted Wood and over the years I've read it to every single class I've ever taught. Children of all ages engage and enjoy it, especially boys. It's also from this book that I choose my character to dress up as. Everyone I've ever taught can tell you who my favourite character from the book is...The old Saucepan Man.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the book (go and read it!) The Saucepan Man is introduced part way through. He is covered in saucepans and they make quite a lot of noise, so he gets a bit deaf and mishears things - usually for rhymes. For example when he's asked if he'd like to go to tea he mishears it for sea and bee. He's hilarious and I get to spend the whole day 'mishearing' the children and hearing rhyming words instead. You certainly have to think quickly to come up with the rhymes and the children will often do the same. I love their enthusiasm and the fact that they're practising rhymes without even knowing it.
Another thing I'm often asked is when children should start reading. The answer is, it's never too early to start reading. Obviously I'm not expecting newborns to read, but that doesn't mean that they can't enjoy books. I know of several people who have introduced books to their babies from a couple of weeks old, usually integrating it in to their bedtime routine. These children will always pick out books as one of their favourite toys and have gone on to be avid readers themselves. Besides, snuggling up with a book is a brilliant way to spend time together.
From a child's point of view, some children will start to read at three, others not until they're seven. All children are different. Most children however, will start to learn some sight words and be able to sound out simple words from Reception. As they progress through Infants they build on their knowledge and the aim is for children to be reasonably fluent readers by the time they leave Year 2.
If you want an idea of what level they should be by the end of Year 2, pick up a standard picture book. They should be able to read it with 90% accuracy and answer questions about the text. I'll be going over this in more detail next month, so check back if you'd like to know more.
Until then, grab a book and get reading!