Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 12 Oct 2017

Castles and Knights at St Mary's Catholic First School, Dorchester

I was very pleased to be invited back to do a story reading session at this friendly Dorchester school. This time the request was for me to find some books with castles and knights to tie in with their current theme.

As I walked into the Year Two classroom I was thrilled to see that the children had just finished writing all about their favourite books. We had a chat about some of them and I confessed that I was a bit of a book collector myself. One of the girls spotted that my black and white dress looked like a library with lots of books - I shall now think of it as my library dress!

I took along a couple of non fiction books and left them with the teacher so that the children could spend some time having a good look. The first story that I chose to read was the wonderful Jim and the Beanstalk by Raymond Briggs. As you may know, young Jim wakes up to find a beanstalk growing outside his bedroom window and climbs up into the clouds to find a castle inhabited by a very old and grumpy giant. Being a kind boy, he offers to help him rediscover his mojo by climbing back down the beanstalk three times to buy some huge glasses, a pair of enormous false teeth and a rather fetching red curly wig. I always enjoy reading this one aloud and the children seemed to be enthralled. They were impressed when I told them that the same author / illustrator had also written the more well known ' Father Christmas' and 'The Snowman'. Sadly I only had time for one more story so I chose to read 'Zog and the Flying Doctors' by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. This is another favourite of mine as it is about a princess whose uncle, the King is furious that she is is a doctor and has been successfully flying around on a dragon with her friend the knight. The King forces her to replace her white coat with a pink frilly dress and keeps her locked up in his castle until she persuades him to see that her doctoring skills are needed.

The allocated half hour went far too quickly and I was sorry to leave this lively bunch of enthusiastic book lovers. It would be lovely to meet them all again for another story reading session next time I am in the area. In the meantime I am hoping that their teacher might send me some of their stories about castles and knights to publish on The Letterpress Project website. Watch this space.

Karen Argent

October 2017