Book Festival: Getting Kids Interested In Reading
We all know how important it is for children to become interested in stories and reading from a young age, but what if it seems a monumental challenge? Whether it be a toddler with the attention span of a gnat, an older bundle of energy who’d rather be running around, or a student with dyslexia, there are children who aren’t automatically drawn to books, or even dread the prospect.
What to do? Well, how about taking them to one of the many interactive, blood-riling storytelling events taking place in this year’s Children’s Programme of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where they can imagine being a spy, a samurai, a cat, or even a haggis?
Even, or especially, for the book-avoidant, storytelling events can engage children’s attention and imagination just as can any good dramatic production.
Several events this year catch the eye:
In Story Consequences, audience members get to instantly shape a collaborative story improvised by Steven Butler, Sally Gardner, Barry Hutchison and Vivian French. We can anticipate much hooting and hollering and audience participation.
A daily free event, Are You Sitting Comfortably? will see Sue Heap, Vivian French, Kathryn Erskine, Philip Ardagh and Alyxandra Harvey read their favourite children’s story from The Wind in the Willows to The Secret Garden.
For those dealing with dyslexia, there will be five days featuring books that are dyslexia friendly, read by McGowan and Tony Bradman.
For real entertainment value, authors promising singing and dancing at their events include Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson (of The Gruffalo) and Kristina Stephenson (of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks).
There’s also professional acting talent to be had with authors such as David Walliams (Britain’s Got Talent and Little Britain) and Mackenzie Crook (The Office).
Many well-known others including Michael Morpurgo, Cathy Cassidy, Andy Stanton, Catherine Rayner, Cressida Cowell, Theresa Breslin, Steve Cole, and Jacqueline Wilson, Eoin Colfer, Chris Bradfor, and Darren Shan will be present to weave their spell over the crowds.
With events for children of all ages, the festival promises something for everyone, whether they are die-hard readers or the about-to-be-converted.