34. A Good Start
Faramir sat cross-legged on the couch, staring fiercely at a book in his lap. I could see that it was one of Boromir's first readers, and wondered what Faramir found so fascinating. There were some illustrations, but not enough to keep the attention of a child who was not many months past his third birthday.
I watched him a moment. He did not turn the pages, just sat glaring at them, so finally I asked, "Would you like a different book?"
He looked up, and I realized that he was very angry. "Whatever is wrong?" I said, going to sit by him.
"This book won't teach me to read!" Faramir exclaimed, smacking the book with his open palm. "Boromir said he learned to read from it!"
I hid my grin behind my hand, for it was obvious that Faramir was extremely frustrated. "Well, little one, this book is for older children," I said, earning myself a scowl from him. "And Boromir had a tutor to help him as well."
"But I want to read it," he insisted. "Will you show me how?"
I thought this over. Teaching Faramir his letters had been a swiftly-accomplished task; within a week, he had been able to recite them with no prompting. He knew what sound each made, and could identify them separately. "All right," I decided, "but I think we shall use a different book."
I went and found a picture-book, one that had coloured drawings of animals and plants, each clearly labeled. Faramir started to protest, but subsided as I pointed out that this book also had words. He took it in his lap, and opened it to the first page. "What does that say?"
"What is that picture?" I asked.
"It's a dog," Faramir replied, "but pictures aren't reading!"
"Calmly," I soothed. "Do you not see the word under the picture?"
He spelled it out, somewhat impatiently. "But what does it – " he trailed off, and turned an excited face to me. "Does that say 'dog', Nanny?"
I chuckled. "Yes, it does. Now, what sound does each letter makes?"
He sounded it out in that funny distinct way that all children learning to read have, and I had to smile at his eagerness. "I can read that!" he gasped. "That says 'dog'!"
"That is not all there is to reading, rabbit," I warned, "but it is a good start. Now shall we read through this book? Then if you have not gotten bored, perhaps we will work on seeing if you know words without pictures to help you."
"I won't get bored," Faramir assured me, eyes shining. "I want to know all the words!"
I laughed. "I am sure that one day you will," I said, ruffling his hair. "Now what is that on the next page?"
He settled against me, and we spent the rest of the afternoon curled up on the couch, happily matching words to pictures.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.