Rachel reads to her Granny Olive: – article from Anglo Celt

Young girl reads to granny daily in Covid lockdown

Olive Rooney from Kilnalun listening to grand daughter Rachel’s story

“The whole lockdown thing has affected us all,” says Joe Rooney, whose daughter Rachel has kept her ‘nana’ company by reading to her over the phone.

Rachel, a fourth class student at Carrickleck National School on the Cavan-Meath border, started the initiative back in March when doing her homework.

Each pupil was given a book to read and write about while learning at home, and Rachel was assigned ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’, the first book in the award-winning Children of the Famine Trilogy written by author Marita Conlon-McKenna.

Olive Rooney was making her daily phonecall to see how everyone was, and asked Rachel how she was managing with her schoolwork.

The 10-year-old responded by asking if her grandparent would like her to read an extract from the book, and 17 chapters and 160 pages later they had finished, with the septuagenarian left wanting to know what might have happened to the characters on their journey through book two.

“So that’s how it started, from there to where Rachel would read a chapter every day at 11.30am to her Nana,” explains proud dad Joe.

So enthralled were they all by the process that, with the help of her sister Hannah, Rachel bought books two (Wildflower Girl) and three (Fields of Home) in order to keep the story going.

Book three came first, meaning the family had to wait that bit longer before continuing the journey of a family as it looks to flee the ravages of the Irish famine in the 1840s.

“It’s really helped my mam get through lockdown,” states Joe of his mother, who lives around three miles from their home, on the Meath side of the county boundary outside of Kingscourt. “Being away from her 15 grandchildren has been tough. Everyone has a lot of love for her, so this has really helped take her mind off the problems of the day.”

Rachel, who dreams of being an artist one day, tells theCeltthat she really enjoys reading to her nana.

She hopes they can find more books in future to read together.

“I love it,” says Rachel, who enjoys reading, and is a big fan Liz Pichon, author of the Tom Gates books.

Joe adds of Rachel: “It’s a nice idea she had. When she reads, she has nice voices for each of the characters as well. It brings the story to life that bit more. My mother loves it and it keeps her going

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