Shut the laptop and pick up a book


Sir, – As a retired primary school teacher I’d like to join Fintan O’Toole in his passionate plea for parents to read to their children. (Opinion, December 15th).

Reading to my class was the highlight of my teaching day. It was a ritual in which I, the reader, had an almost sacred power as I unlocked new worlds for the children in my care.

As the story stole over them, the children would relax – the well-adjusted and the anxious, the attention seekers and the quiet ones, even the emotionally damaged kids who came to school with hard little grins and a burning need to be disruptive – they would all settle into the “biodome of language” as I read to them.

Many parents interact with their children when it’s time to do homework but this often brings stress and recriminations, for both parties, while sharing stories and travelling through new realms together does the opposite. Maybe we should just do a swap? – Yours, etc,


Bray, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I am delighted and uplifted by Fintan O’Toole’s article (Opinion, December 15th).

His description of his 20-month-old grandson’s imperious shutting of a laptop, while proffering a book is a call for those of us who anxiously observe the proliferation of digital devices offering colourful cartoons and music for babies and children.

It is far too easy an option to turn on the large screen to quiet a fractious child. I know and my grandson is only 7½ months. Turn on to reading! A motto for our next phase of lockdown, whatever restrictions it may bring. – Yours, etc,


Inishowen, Co Donegal.