Yesterday I had a conversation with a 16 year old who I used to see for speech and language therapy from the age of three through to secondary school. She had complex speech and language issues compounded by some hearing problems and other factors impacting on her learning. What ever aspects of her communication we were working on stories were used extensivley in our sessions and we always ended each session with a story (or two.)
J has done far better than her parents or I could have predicted back when she was a three year old, mainly because of her own personality and her parents' tireless fighting for what they felt helped her best, and quite a fight it's been over the years.
'I loved the stories we did together,' said J after she had told me her current news of exams and certificates and her college placement for September. 'They were such fun. I loved the stories about the pig family especially the one where the baby sitter was a wolf.'
'And the ones about the Large family,' I reminded her.
'Oh yes, they were my favourites, you gave me a book about them,' recalled J. 'Five Minutes Peace. I liked another one where they all went on diet and then Gran sent them a cake.'
We chatted about the characters and exploits in those stories from years ago, remembering Father Bear who couldn't get any sleep, a tiger who ate all the food, Mog the cat who scared off a burglar, Lucy and Tom's Christmas day, the mum who bribed her daughter to eat her peas, promising her a host of daft things.
We had moved on to more grown up stories as befitted J's maturing years and she is now reading some of the well known classics like Anne of Green Gables, but as she said, 'those stories were such fun. I wish I could still read them in a way even though I'm too old for them.'
'You know something, J,' I said, 'I don't think we ever get too old for them. And one thing I especially loved about my work was getting to read great books to children and seeing them loving the stories as much as I do!'