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Children learn to read from loving pictures, says Roald Dahl illustrator

... and heavy texts put them off reading

Children's book illustrator Sir Quentin Blake, probably best known for his illustrations of much-loved Roald Dahl books, has said that children should not be asked to tackle too challenging books too young, reports the Telegraph.


The former children's laureate was speaking at the Hay Literary Festival last week and said he'd been put off reading for years after attempting to read Oliver Twist at too young an age.

Instead, Sir Quentin insists, children captivated by pictures will naturally progress onto more challenging books at an appropriate age and when they are ready.

He told the audience that children learn to read "from emotional intelligence" and urged people in education not to ignore the fun of illustrations.

"The relationship between text and illustration can on occasion be quite complex, but what illustrations can first of all do is to welcome you to the book," Sir Quentin said.

"Children learn because they want to. The emotional motivation is immensely storng: no one should be turning their backs on that."

Meanwhile, there's a new book out aimed at mums doing the school drop-off/pick-up, which might cause a few nods of recognition!

The Hive, by Gill Hornby, is set outside the school gates of St Ambrose Church Primary and centres round a group of mums who tread the fine line between friendship and bitter rivalry.

Ring any bells?!



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