When I grew up my reading was heavily influenced by my teachers. Luckily some of my primary teachers rather liked Roald Dahl and the rest also made brilliant literary choices. I wonder if this is typical of English schools and what writers stand out in the memories of those of you who grew up abroad?
When my infant teacher initially read the BFG, with incredible accents for each giant, I was totally sucked in. The following year another wonderful teacher read us George’s Marvellous Medicine and then The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. C S Lewis then became a firm favourite of mine and I started consuming the other Narnia stories, such as The Silver Chair.
Being Read To Matters
I do wonder if my love for reading would have been less evident if I hadn’t had teachers who really read with passion. The reading bug needs to start somewhere and Roald and Lewis definitely triggered the obsession for me.
My mum also read to me daily and as time moved on I started to read to her. I would read Enid Blyton books and those involving Professor Brainstorm. I’d also try poems and fact books. Mum bought me a whole set of illustrated Charles Dickens books (children’s editions).
As I got older, teachers introduced me to Michael Morpurgo (Why the Whales Came) and Shakespeare (starting with Macbeth). One thing was certain, the more books I sampled, the stronger my passion for reading became. At the same time some fiction turned me off and helped me fine tune my taste or reluctance for certain genres. For instance, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was taught by an uninteresting teacher and was dragged out over months.
So yes, my brilliant teachers brought amazing narratives into my life and I am forever grateful. I will never lose my love of Roald Dahl books, no matter how many times I come across them. Similarly, I have a place in my heart for Narnia and Hogwarts. Admittedly Harry Potter was first read by me as an adult but I bet J K Rowling’s books have a massive impact on today’s young people and encourage many to read more often.
For another article about Roald Dahl have a read of this. If you enjoyed this post perhaps consider following my blog.