Saturday, 22 March 2014

Reading by stealth - Minecraft and board games

I am quite lucky in that my boy (well the one that can read!) has inherited a love of reading, and often has to have a book prised off him at some ludicrous hour of the evening.  However, I am all too aware that this is not always the case, particularly with the male of the species.

I was in Burton-upon-Trent this week, which is not a town with a  huge amount to recommend it.  That said it does have a wonderful library and a very, very good Waterstones.  It's very small, but seems to magically have what you need, and the displays are always wonderfully thought out, and generally lead me to part with a few quid (a fool and his money, and all that).

Anyway, I was on a mission for the Minecraft Combat Handbook for C.  He already has the Beginner's Guide and the Redstone Handbook.  I have not the first idea what Redstone is, but C has internalised and can churn out the entire contents of the book at will, and will readily do so to the unwary person who asks an innocent question about the workings of the game.

When I walked in there were piles of a book and my spirits rose.  Alas, it was the Construction Handbook, and not the Combat one.  There was a gamble to be made.  A and C get to choose a book from the Book Fair after Parents Evening at school if their report is good.  Since, without wishing to be an irritating boasty parent, they are pretty much angels at school, their reports are always good, and we always end up with them choosing a book from the relatively uninspired selection in the school reception.  I decided to pre-empt the good reports and get the books before in a bookshop where I knew the books were good. However, C had said that there were Combat Handbooks at school, but not many left.  I bought the construction one, hoping it would be OK, and then ordered the combat version from the Book People when I got home.  This was considered VERY OK.

If a child has an interest, run with it.  It doesn't matter if they only want to read about Minecraft - let them.  Yes, it's not as good as if they were reading a selection of different, challenging texts, but I don't know anyone who lives in an ideal world, so instead of striving for that, I find it's generally easier to offer a selection, and just run with it if they get stuck in a rut.  Chances are he won't want to read them next year, but if he's enjoying them so much now, then who cares?

Minecraft guides (Beginners, Redstone, Combat and Construction) are available from many outlets. And if you live near Burton, they are readily available, since over Christmas they ran out, and have now gone slightly overboard to make sure that doesn't happen again.  100 copies of the Construction handbook, anyone ;)

Moving on in the week, today has been wonderful.  MrM's team won 5-0 against the local rivals, we had a lovely lunch out with some fabulous friends, and then ate cake for tea.  Since we were winning at parenting today, we decided to really push the boat out with a  board game.  C had Forbidden Desert for his birthday.  It's a co-operative game, since we have some not very good losers in the family (not just me). I also think that with the age gaps we now have, competitive games are going to be quite tricky for a few decades, since, although BabyM does not play yet, he will take a decade or so to catch up on the others (although of course he is so much younger than the rest of us, that when we've all gone senile he can thrash us at board games then). Forbidden Desert is fab.  There are lengthy instructions though, so allow yourselves half an hour family reading time to really understand what it is you have to do.  There you go, then you've covered another genre.

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