Lesepaten: an ex-bank director is back in the kindergarten

“One more thing!” Gerd (70) has just struck the 2nd children’s book, as want Jonas (6) and the other attentive listeners / inner already hear the next. Eagerly tens of eyes of children look at the reading prophets – but understand that the time is over and trolling. “Bye, Gerd, until Thursday!” Our guest author Elke Tonscheidt has listened to a reading mentor.

Gerd Müller, grandfather of a three-year-old grandson in Bayreuth and father of two daughters, already had quite different jobs to read than twice a week at the municipal kindergarten Angeraue in Düsseldorf-Angermund. He spent almost 40 years with the Deutsche Bundesbank, most recently in banking supervision. “You also have to read a lot,” he grins, but the motivation for today’s employment is different: “I want to give the children back some of the happy life I was allowed to lead.”

Who is that? Mothers usually know Gerd only from stories

He retired five years ago, since then he has taken this time and is thrilled with what he can not only give, but also get back: “The most beautiful thing a reading mentor is to be in the circle of children, always one may take turns the lap, and you realize, the little ones trust me, lean against me, listen to me. And when they ask their parents at home to read aloud, then I’m all the more happy. “

“The Gerd” is not only a local concept in the kindergarten of the small tranquil suburb of the NRW state capital. Again and again it happens that children suddenly proclaim joyfully when shopping or in the service and pointing to him: “Hello Gerd!” Gerd ?? He has looked into many astonished mothers’ faces in all these years, because they usually only know “our Gerd” from stories.

Gerd is also a frequent guest in the central library

Gerd’s career as a (pre-) reading mentor began when he learned in a newspaper from the network “Dusseldorf reads before”. “I can too,” was his impression and made contact. So he sits regularly for several hours in the Central Library in search of the right books. “I’ll take two to three per mission,” says Müller.

He likes to read the whaling history of Captain Sharky. When we are by grosseltern.de here, he fishes out of his black laptop bag also the book “Today is everything allowed, right?” To report from a children’s birthday and his mishaps. “Everything is devastated”, he is reading and looks up: “Do you know what that is, devastated?” Sure, that’s the answer. “And if everything is messy with me, Mama always helps,” says a blond in addition …

The grandmother developed a very close relationship

Gerd Müller’s childhood was so different from that of the children today. When he was three, his family was evacuated from present-day Poland to Hameln. “We were evicted,” he recalls. The father was at war, never came back. With his grandmother and his brother they found a new home in West Germany. Since the mother had to work, the grandmother developed a very close relationship. Naturally, books were seldom read at that time; there were not many. But stories that were told.

Müller’s main motivation today not only to devote himself to his grandson, whom he can see despite removal about once a month, is, however, another. Yes, the memories of his grandmother are strong; but above all, he has his two daughters in mind, “who have taken such a straight path and our family ultimately so lucky in life”. He wants to give something back to others today.

“Gerd is just great,” says the head of the Municipal Kita

Initial considerations to help old people were not realized. “I could not stand the mental stress,” says Müller. Reading with children was a hit. And not only the children are happy – the employees in the kindergarten are also proud of Gerd. This is how Babette de Fries, who heads the municipal institution, emphasizes: “Gerd is just great. If he pushes with his suitcase and the children storm him – that’s just great, right? “

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Our tips for reading and reading aloud can be found here

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