Roald Dahl Day 2021: Quick Ways To Get Your Kids Reading This September

[This article is by Debbie, an experienced writer currently working for Affinity Agency based in the UK. Her main goal is to help others learn and develop through her writing.]

Heading back to the classroom can be tricky for some young children. They could be anxious about learning around others, worried they won’t be good enough, or they may not want to learn at all! To help them get used to education again, we’re going to explore:

  • Ways to battle Summer Learning Loss
  • Tips for reluctant readers
  • How to make the most of Roald Dahl Day 2021

Some children’s books are classics for a reason – they’re timeless and fun, so let’s find out how they can help get your kids’ reading…

Helping kids ease back into the learning and classroom environment is something you should think about doing after every education break. It makes school seem less scary, inspires an accepting and positive attitude towards education, and tells your kids that learning is good and encouraged. It can also help kids maintain a higher knowledge level during the holiday and support them if they’re having trouble learning.

There are plenty of ways to get started in small, simple ways – there’s no need to go full-on home-based summer school. No, it’s better to bring it into everyday activities like arts and crafts, baking, museum visits and more.

Ways to battle Summer Learning Loss

Summer learning loss is a theory that revolves around the idea that children forget and lose some of their learning from the previous school year during the summer holidays. It’s also sometimes called ‘The Summer Slide’, and it basically means if they’re not practising, they’re not progressing.

Let’s be honest: we’ve all had those times when we’ve picked up a pen after a long time and wondered if we still knew how to write (our penmanship certainly suffered, right?), so we all know that going back to the classroom is an adjustment.

However, there are simple activities you can do throughout the summer to help:

  1. Take trips to educational places during the break to keep them interested and still learning.
  2. Let your kids explore new hobbies and try new things when they show an interest – they’re more likely to want (and to continue) to learn when it’s something that’s sparked their attention. 
  3. Try baking together – it involves numbers and measuring, so it could help keep their maths levels nice and high.
  4. Reading together is a great option as it helps maintain their literature and English levels and is a great way to build that parent-child bond.

Tips for reluctant readers

Reading is by far the most accessible and easy form of summer learning, but the fact is, some kids just don’t like to read It could be because they struggle to understand, or have learning difficulties, or just don’t find the content interesting. These kids are commonly called reluctant readers. It’s a tricky problem to tackle, but there are ways to get reluctant readers to pick up a book more often. Here are a few things you can try at home:

  • Choose shorter books: If they seem daunted by the size or length of a book, choose shorter, snappier ones that have fewer pages and more illustrated to keep them engaged.
  • Choose topics they like: Someone who likes cars is more likely to read about them, right? It’s the same with kids’ books – try to choose books which deal with topics and activities they enjoy.
  • Choose books with characters that are like your child: Seeing someone that’s just like them or is going through something the same is more likely to keep your child interested in the story. 
  • Choose comics and heavily illustrated books: Some people prefer visuals to words, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  So, maybe let them choose a comic that has loads of pictures with some words to help them to read more.
  • Choose books that have on-screen adaptions: Seeing a book come to life is always a fun experience. So, maybe find a TV series or film that has been adapted from a book and see if your child can notice any differences after reading?

How to Make the Most of Roald Dahl Day 2021

Roald Dahl, 1954. Photo by Carl Van Vechten, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Roald Dahl was a prolific writer from Great Britain who wrote fantastically fun children’s books such as James and The Giant Peach, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda and more. Each book deals with issues such as loneliness, family, friendship, challenging difficulties and so much more. These themes are universal, and most people find something that resonates with their own experience. What’s more, the way he conveys each message using made-up words, magical ideas and inspirational characters to get the point across certainly helps keep kids engaged too.

These wonderful books (and their unique illustrations by Quentin Blake) have been enjoyed the world over by kids and parents alike, and that’s why his legacy is celebrated every year on Roald Dahl Day.

When is Roald Dahl Day 2021?

This year, Roald Dahl Day is being held on 13th September. 

Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, 81 and 83 High Street, Great Missenden, in Buckinghamshire, England. No Swan So Fine, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How can you get involved?

The easiest way to take part in Roald Dahl Day and help your child to read more over the holidays is to read his books. Your local library will no doubt hold plenty of his stories to loan out, and your child’s teacher might have guided reading sessions set up in school too.

Why not read one of his books together, then watch the on-screen adaption? Here are a few you can read and watch:

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been made into two films, the classic one with Gene Wilder in 1971 and another in 2006 with Johnny Depp.
  • Matilda was made into a 90’s classic in 1996 with Danny Devito in one of the main roles.
  • Esio Trot has been adapted into a short tv series by the BBC starring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench.
  • Fantastic Mr Fox appears in a 2009 adaption with George Clooney as the main Fox himself.
  • The BFG has seen two adaptions as well, one in 1989 and another more recent one in 2016.

You could also make a huge deal of it and have a Roald Dahl-themed week where you read his books and watch the adaptions. Then you could make your own Marvellous Medicine, draw pictures of the characters, dress up as your favourites and even try to concoct some of Willy Wonka’s fantastic treats. 

There are loads of ways Roald Dahl Day can be bought in to help your kids learn, and different things you can try to help them read more. Just do your best, set a good example, and find your own ways to get them excited about reading this September.

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