Are you a Charlotte Mason devotee?
If so, I’m going to apologize now.
But I’m about to make a case for why your child should read some twaddle.
But first, what is twaddle for those who are new to the Charlotte Mason education principles?
Twaddle is a word that can be difficult to define. I think of twaddle as a book that does not contain beautiful and elevated language. It has a predictable plot and weak character development. It might not be exactly well-written, and would never be considered great literature. Twaddle reading would be considered “fluff” books. They don’t have much overall value in teaching character.
I love many of the tenets of a Charlotte Mason education. I use many living books in our homeschool, because I want my children to be exposed to rich language and well-written works of literature.
Initially, I fought against allowing “twaddle” books into our home.
And in the past few years, I’ve had a huge change of heart and reversed my ban on twaddle.
Now I actually welcome twaddle books into my home.
- The main reason I reversed my decision on twaddle books, is because I have a struggling reader. Reading was so difficult for this child. It was nearly impossible to get this child to read anything outside of school time.
In short, this child hated books and was overwhelmed and intimidated by the process of reading.
So, I switched to audiobooks and slowly helped this child find joy in well-written stories.
But this child started asking for a few audiobook titles that I would consider twaddle. I finally decided to purchase a few. This child who hated all things having to do with books, became a voracious listener – finishing hours of audiobooks in just one week.
I adopted the same strategy in purchasing hard copy books. I bought a few twaddle readers well-below this child’s reading level and required several minutes of reading time each day. Slowly, this child began to complete books. One day, he came to me and asked for additional books to read.
This was a complete change from the prior years when this child fought against reading any book.
Yes, I let this child (and others in my house) read twaddle.
But be encouraged, once they became more confident in their reading abilities, they were able and willing to read living literature.
It was important that I capture their interest at first, while building their reading fluency and confidence. And yes, I did that all with twaddle – and I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit it.
- Another reason that I reversed my ban on twaddle has everything to do with me.
I love reading! And while I love reading excellent literature and the classics. I also really enjoy light reading. There is nothing more wonderful than curling up with a fluffy blanket and an equally fluffy book. I love mysteries and stories of adventure and historical fiction.
I read because reading brings me joy. It’s relaxing and thrilling to be transported to another time and place and become immersed in the story.
And while I try to read a broad range of books – from non-fiction, to biographies, to memoirs, to classics, to simply-written and sometimes-predictable novels.
My kids should be able to experience the same joy in their reading time.
I have a few simple limits on their book choices, but I largely allow them to dictate their reading list for their free reading time.
And I’ve been pleasantly surprised, as they’ve been exposed to a wide variety of writing styles and genres, they do tend to gravitate toward some of the better written works.
Of course, they still read predictable twaddle. But overall, they read a broad range of books and authors. More importantly, they all find joy in the written word. And that was my ultimate goal, even though I had to welcome some twaddle in order to get there. I’d gladly do it all over again.
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