Reading To Children

Jo ElliottThis week, CWC member, Jo Elliott, tells us how she got on last month, reading her book Fang, the Unusual Rabbit to all of the children in Widecombe Primary School.

“Having never done this before, apart from a handful of children in a couple of libraries, it was a very daunting task to read to 70 children ranging from five to eleven years. I thought that I would’ve felt a lot more nervous than I did when I got there but everyone at the school welcomed me like an old friend and put me at my ease straight away (including the dog!).

Comfortably seated, on a chair built for a seven year old, I read my book, relaxed and actually enjoyed myself! The children were a delight, the little ones had just come in from “Forest” (outdoor) school and were filthy, it was really funny.

FangI use A3 illustrations, blown up from the originals, when I read as the children can see what’s going on in the paintings as well as listen to the story. They all listened intently and clapped enthusiastically when I’d finished. We then had a Q&A session which went on for a while, and the children asked me some really interesting questions. One little girl asked me how I felt when I was writing and drawing the book, I really had to think about that one.

Some of the words in my poem are a little old fashioned and I was a little worried about that when I was writing it but, one teacher, made a lesson out of it, explaining what the words meant etc. and went on to explain what the moral was about Fang. All the children got it immediately, about how it doesn’t matter if you’re different. I was really chuffed at this.

I somehow agreed to go back and do a little session on art and poetry (must’ve been a weak moment!) and, after a little girl stopped me in the hallway and thanked me for coming and told me how much she liked my book (she was so lovely), I drove up to the top of Widecombe hill and walked my dog, Ned, through the snow, sunshine and biting wind.

Not bad for someone who has never had anything to do with children!”

Jo Elliott

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