Remembering a Story Shared

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Matilda

As a little girl I was a very big fan of Matilda, by Roald Dahl. I would read it most nights and I loved the very beginning where Matilda sneaked away to read alone in the library as I, being one of three sisters, yearned for the opportunity to read books alone, to myself – in peaceful silence! We were often read to by my parents but three girls on one bed, jostling for space, was generally rather loud.

I then grew up a little bit and got my own bedroom. Hours of my life were spent devouring as many books as I could carry home from my school library. I could easily get through a book or two an evening (homework was less of a priority, oddly enough!), bedside light glowing comfortingly until my mum came up ‘for the last time’ to make sure I was going to sleep.

Much as I relished these rare moments of solitude in a frantic household I very clearly remember being even younger, at Infant’s School, where Mrs Gardiner would read us David Henry Wilson’s Jeremy James books. It was my favourite time of the day; out of the sandpit we would come, trailing PVA glue, bits of tinsel and packets of pickled onion Monster Munch behind us. With sticky hands and grey socks falling down to our ankles my class would pile onto the cushions at Mrs Gardiner’s feet and wait, the one moment of silence in the day, for her to start reading. I remember the creaking of the hardback cover as she opened the book, the sun streaming through the glass doors and bouncing off her glasses. Slowly, ever so slowly, she would place the book in front of her nose and, waiting for absolute stillness and silence (to a whispered chorus of ‘SSHH,’ and ‘get off my elbow’,) she would begin to read.

Within moments we were all whooping with laughter and calling for ‘one more! One more story!’ before we could go back to our potato printing and colouring in. That’s where my love of reading began – the joy of being read aloud to, and of sharing a story.

Nicola Cottingham - Clickety Books

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