Aren’t we clever?

I was thinking about reading yesterday. Obviously this is not an earth-shattering event, given that I work for Puffin and read books all day, every day. I can happily say, by the way, that I do exactly what people expect me to – correct spelling mistakes. (But we call them ‘typos’ so no one feels bad.) I think I might also look like a copy-editor – at least when I wear my specs and a cardigan (most days then), but I digress . . .

Anyway, I was thinking about reading because I’ve been going back to school recently and listening to six-year-olds read. It’s a hard slog for some of them because learning to read is D.I.F.F.I.C.U.L.T. How ever did we learn that c is pronounced one way in ‘nice’, another way in ‘cheese’ and yet another way in ‘cracker’? And that when you see wiggly things like this “, it means someone’s started talking? And do you remember how confusing the difference between sticks with fat bottoms was: d when it faces one way and b when it faces the other? And then there are all those thousands of words that you’ve never heard of before just waiting to trip you up. All things considered, our ability to decode squiggles on a page or a screen is really rather impressive.

MoominSo let’s pat ourselves on the back for getting to the fun stage . . . where we can curl up with a good book on our own; where we can choose what to read and where to read (I favour beneath a duvet in winter/atop a grassy knoll in summer); where we can talk to our mates about the books we love or hate or love to hate (or hate to love – I have a few of those); and where books mean so much more than (sigh) school. Happy reading!

Jennie Morris
Senior Copy-Editor