For the Love of Books

Elmhurst School for Boys

8th March 2019 | Headmaster's Blog

“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” - Roald Dahl

As educationalists, we know that reading is the key to the curriculum. I once worked in a school where the Head used to say “The Three ‘R’s are Reading, Reading, Reading!” - determined to impart the message that reading is the key that unlocks a world of knowledge.

My own children used to ‘demand’ that I read The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, over and over again, almost every night. When they discovered that Julia Donaldson had written other stories, I also became extremely familiar with Stickman. My son, now in Year 4, has just discovered Enid Blyton and he is loving the Secret Seven series, whilst my daughter is enjoying JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

Whether it be Roald Dahl or David Walliams, Thomas Hardy or Jane Austen, the ‘craft’ of a good book is to capture the imagination and to inspire the reader to continue to turn the pages. The greatest authors have all been able to do this, often in their own inimitable style. Studies would lead us to believe that boys tend to prefer non-fiction, factual books but judging by the costumes worn in our World Book Day celebrations this week, the fictional storybook is alive and well at Elmhurst. Many of our boys have been inspired to write their own stories based around those they have read, almost unconsciously copying the styles of the most captivating books.

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Joseph Addison penned this quote roughly 300 years ago, before modern science and research equipment could back up his claim. Today, however, scientific studies show that reading does indeed make you smarter. Have you ever tried to solve a mystery you are reading in a novel, before you have read the conclusion? If you have, you are developing your critical thinking skills. Reading also improves communication skills, enhancing your vocabulary and your knowledge of how to use new words. Reading is often inspiring too and can challenge your imagination every time you put yourself in the shoes of a character in a book.

So, in the week of World Book Day, I recommend spending some time this weekend relaxing with a good book!

- Mr A J Padfield

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