Last year I pulled together a small collection of picture books for a lesson with 1st years, and the pupils’ reaction encouraged me to include it in this year’s Reading Trail. World Book Day seemed the ideal opportunity and so all this week, classes coming into the LRC have been reading Green Eggs and Ham, The Rainbow Fish, Where the Wild Things Are, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and The Gruffalo amongst others.
I sense the raising of eyebrows: The Gruffalo? For 1st year!!!
Yup! And for several very good reasons: joy, nostalgia, sharing, and above all else, a reminder to everyone that reading is fun!
Some chose to read together, some chose to read aloud to a partner, others preferred to sit by themselves, but everyone was engrossed. And when they finished one book, they quickly swapped for an alternative. No-one was complaining about having to read.
Since this was also part of the Reading Trail, pupils were then asked to create a mind map about any one of the books; quite a challenging task as much of the characterisation, plot and setting come from the illustrations or have to be inferred from the text.
When I first introduced the books the class responded with a mix of delighted shrieks and baffled frowns. It’s sadly a fact that many children aren’t introduced to picture books when they’re younger, and not having that experience, don’t think to share books with their own children and so the cycle continues. Discovering them in the company of enthusiastic veterans isn’t the worst introduction. And even those who knew the books from when they were wee spotted new things with teenaged eyes.
You’re never too old for a picture book – even if it’s only for half an hour.