So, we had a bit of a discussion, C and I, about bedtime stories recently. He'd asked for The Hobbit, but then had started reading it in shared reading at school, so that stalled. "Anyway", he said "I've not enjoyed the bedtime stories we've had really, since Cosmic." C adored Cosmic. It was about a slightly geeky boy who liked computer games more than actual life, and who liked rollercoasters, and didn't want to be lonely. It could have been written for him.
I was unsure what to do. I am evangelical about story reading to older kids, probably to the point of being quite annoying. But I didn't feel comfortable saying "But you have to have a bedtime story because it's good for you, and I say you do." C has enough of that in his life without me picking a battle about something he's supposed to enjoy!
I tried a different tack, asking me to tell me about a bedtime story he enjoyed. He picked Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger, which, invariably, was one that I thought was overwhelmingly average, at best. "He's written some about Star Wars puppets, can we have those?"
I firmly believe that a major benefit of reading to older children is to give them access to books that might be too difficult for them to read independently. However, they absolutely have to be on board with this, or there's no engagement, and no point. I am hoping that this will return. However, for the moment, I am reading an entire series of books set in an American middle school about the adventures of a wise origami finger puppet in the shape of Yoda. I am attempting to see it as an exercise in comparing UK and American English. However, I think it's more likely that C is learning that unlikely romantic scenarios (the cool class beauty falling for the geek) are commonplace, and that going to school in America is much more fun than going to school here.
What makes these books for which I am absolutely NOT the target audience just about manageable is that C is really enjoying his bedtime story again, and A sneaks in to listen most evenings. "It's quite a good tale really", she says. I try not to pull an unconvinced face, because, actually, this evening I was quite interested to know whether or not Origami Yoda would solve the issue of the girl in drama group with body odour. In case you're wondering, he did, but rather unsuccessfully, in my considered opinion.