I was doing the Santa Run this weekend, delivering Xmas cheer to relatives in Wiltshire. Whilst its always a pleasure, especially to see my niece, on this occasion she was even more animated than usual.
She had discovered books :)
While the rest of the family bustled and jabbered around us, I spent more than an hour in a one-2-one with this astonishing 10-year-old, talking about her favourite authors (currently Michael Morpurgo and Malorie Blackman) and how the teachers were pacing them, what she was allowed to read, what she didn't think she was old enough to yet. Her face lit up as she told me of characters and storylines (I went out and bought Blackman's Deadly Dares on her recommendation) and I cant remember having a more rewarding time for ages.
But what I walked away with (apart from a new reading list) was a worry; and that being what - if anything - I can do to feed these tiny flames of enthusiasm. I see my niece maybe twice a year. I dont want to interfere with what sounds like a good job by her teachers, but before long she will be going to senior school.
Maybe the best thing is to do what I did on Saturday - and listen when she wants to talk.