“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”
Roald Dahl – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Roald Dahl with his hate for the television and his love for the feel of a book in his hands may well strike a chord with many of us. We want our children to embrace the world of books, to fly away to the wonder of different worlds, to experience strife, danger and passion while sitting safely on our sofa.
At This is Why We Read, we want to make sure we share this reading journey with our children, that we cwtch up and join them on that sofa, or classroom reading corner.
All the research points to the benefits not just of children reading for pleasure but of them sharing stories with their adults, of adults reading aloud to children, long after children have learnt to read fluently themselves.
Storytelling has, after all, always been a communal activity. It’s where we learn a myriad of life skills and yet what we want to do is equip those adults and children with the love of asking questions about those stories.
Why, for example, can’t Little Red Riding embrace her curiousity and stray off the path? Why do fairy tales, and Jane Austen novels and most Romantic films end with a wedding when actually none of the married couples in Austen are happy?
When and how do we learn that if a character in Roald Dahl’s stories is watching the television s/he will be a ‘bad’ character, like Mike Teavee or the Wormwoods, pitched against those ‘good’ storylovers like Danny’s father, Miss Honey or Matilda?
So we want to take a step back from the story, and a step forwards into the book talk. To ask all these questions and to make sure we empower our children to ask them too. To become active readers, critical thinkers, for if we begin by asking our children to question these stories then they will, we hope, go through life asking questions of all the narratives that are thrown in their direction from all sources.
Come with us, learn to ask the questions, look at our examples, book a session, and find out more about yourselves, your books and the children in your care.
Change the world with a conversation.