During my oasis of calm reading lessons with my lovely Year 7 group, I have taken to reading The Hobbit as they sit on the beanbags reading Wimpy Kid rip-offs (often better than the original, it has to be said), and vampire trash. Obviously I am totally happy for them to read whatever they chose. I have to admit I only chose The Hobbit because I couldn't be bothered to go to my bag and fetch the book I was actually reading, and it happened to be on a shelf that I could reach from the comfort of my teacher chair.
I have never actually read The Hobbit myself, but I remember my Dad reading it to me when I was about 11 or 12. The deal was, if we were in bed for 9pm, Dad would sit on the landing between my room and my brother's room and read to us. We had The Hounds of the Morrigan, The Hobbit, Watership Down and probably some others that have faded over time. What hasn't faded is that feeling of safety that comes with being read to. It certainly made a difference to our own reading and writing skills - listening to an expert reader read aloud from the work of an expert writer can't fail to do this. It's not like we couldn't read well ourselves by that time. But that wasn't the point. It was lovely that Dad took the time to read something to us that we might not necessarily have bothered to read for ourselves. It rounded the day off nicely. It made us feel secure.
I have been urging parents at recent meetings to continue to read to their children as they transition from primary to secondary. They don't suddenly turn into adults when they wear a blazer instead of a brightly coloured jumper. It is still such a valuable use of time. I will certainly continue to read to mine, either until they move out, or ask me to stop, whichever comes sooner. It is absolutely one of my favourite times of the day.