Roald Dahl Day: Reading is a superpower

So it’s September 13th – you know what that means! Just as soon as we started to believe that the back-to-school classroom chaos might be coming to an end (we wish!), Roald Dahl Day has come rolling around again – and what a gloriumptious, phizz-whizzing day it is. Not fluent in Gobblefunk? You’d better check out last year’s Roald Dahl Day blog to find out more.

“A little magic can take you a long way.” – James and the Giant Peach

An exciting time to celebrate the life and work of one of the world’s best creative minds, celebrations for Roald Dahl Day 2018 have already got off to a hopscotchy start. The return of the Dahlicious Dress Up Day, a downloadable party pack on the Roald Dahl website… and if that’s not enough, check out this list of vocabulary games you can have fun with!

Alongside all of these, this year Roald Dahl HQ partnered up with the National History Museum to host ‘James and the Giant Weekend’, a giganticus two-day event in which children were encouraged to explore the natural world that Dahl spotlighted in one of his first children’s novels, James and the Giant Peach. From ‘Whizzbanging Words’ creative writing workshops to the opportunity to meet all your favourite creepy crawlies in ‘James’ Weird and Wonderful Friends’, this incredibly educational weekend was inspired by just a single book.

Dahl wrote around 48.

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives… She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.” – Roald Dahl, Matilda

As well as providing us with a myriad of magical tales, underdog heroes and a wealth of creative vocabulary, if there’s one thing we should be thanking Roald Dahl for it’s for being such an advocate for reading and literacy. Take Matilda, for example – a young bookworm of a girl who has the ability to rise up against the negative forces in her life because of her skills. Although Dahl gives her literal magical powers, it’s clear to see that what he was actually trying to tell us is this: reading is a superpower.

“Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.” – Roald Dahl

Dahl believed in the power of reading – I’m sure you do too! It goes without saying that the more you read, the more you learn, but I think Dahl realised something that a lot of us miss: you don’t just learn from the content of what you’re reading (though that’s important too!) but from the act of reading in itself.

Learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage, Dahl said – and he’s right. The benefits of being a reader are innumerable, from improving academic achievement to increasing the potential for social mobility. In short, reading gives us access to words, vocabulary, communication, that may have been previously out of our reach. Reading brings us joy and happiness, yes, but it also provides us with the skills we need to navigate and succeed in today’s society – especially so with our children.

“Our children are marvelous … and happy, and I like to think that all my storytelling has contributed a little bit to their happiness.” – Roald Dahl

So if you find yourself with a spare moment in between gobblefunking your words and dressing up like a Big Friendly Giant, take a look back at where this all began. Go on, grab yourself a copy of that favourite Dahl classic and let the magic wash over you all over again! Still searching for the perfect display to kick-start your year? We’ve got a blog post for that.

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