Lit Kid: reading, and rereading

I’m noticing a certain phase at the moment. All those days and weeks and months of reading to Junior Reader are being repaid by return visits.

Time for the apprentice reader to work through the same titles; take in what was missed in the listening, perhaps.

Sometimes books are tackled again shortly after they are finished as readalouds. (There’s a certain pride in tackling a ‘big book’ solo. The graphic novel version of The Hobbit, for example.)

More and more, these are chapter books that are returned to. The picture books are still there on the shelves; they’re not forgotten just yet. (And The Beano is returned to very regularly too.)

A friend and I talked a little while ago about reading, and how many new books to introduce when. Rereading is seen as a good thing, where the junior reader can absorb more vocabulary, kick back a bit with a story that is already familiar.

Rereading is a comfortable thing to do. A good chunk of my own reading this spring seems to have been rereading, mostly working my way back through my Dorothy L. Sayers collection, and certain other crime novels.

Some are not quite rereading, but revisiting in a different form. We are eking out the Montalbano novels by Andrea Camilleri. It’s interesting to experience them on the page, having loved the TV adaptations that introduced us to the character.

Junior Reader meanwhile can have a whole series of spy adventures, alongside Jack Stalwart, whose junior spy travels around the world were part of last year’s holiday reading. (We have also referenced the Alex Rider books for the future, but it’s not quite time for junior James Bond just yet.)

Sometimes the rereading is returning to a favoured character: in my case, Lord Peter Wimsey, or Inspector Montalbano. Sometimes it’s a chance to revisit the first read; to see how the story holds up some time on.

These days, I’m more interested in the mechanics of the writing, as well as getting caught up in the story. I don’t think that’s Junior Reader’s intention, but I certainly see the little stacks of books mounting up; dipping into the back catalogue on the shelves.

Perhaps at some point we will do a bit more pointing out of what’s new: the books higher up the shelves, ones that were mine or Dan’s, that are there for further adventures in print.

But for now, familiarity breeds not contempt, but coziness. It’s spring, but it’s still chill.

A reread can be as good as a favourite jumper, and there’s not the problem of overheating either. You can layer on as many as you like.

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