Raising a Reader

Raising a Reader

I recently read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I LOVE that book! Anyway, as I was reading I noticed that the Oompa-Loompas sing this song:

“The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set–
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotized by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink–
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
It rots the senses in the head!
It kills imagination dead!
It clogs and clutters up the mind!
It makes a child so dull and blind
He can no longer understand
a fantasy, a fairyland!
His brain becomes as soft as cheese!
His powers of thinking rust and freeze!
He cannot think–He only sees!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
They…used…to…READ! They’d READ and READ,
And read and read, and then proceed
To read some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be!
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
and Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and–
Just How the Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole–
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
 And children hitting you with sticks–
Fear not, because we promise you
Thank, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start–oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.”

My tip for today…….turn off the tv (and I’ll add, the personal electronics and video games)!
Thank you Roald Dahl! Love this poem!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
My Review:
I love this book!!! I have read it countless times, and each time I read it I love it just as much. It’s definitely a classic, and a favorite at our house. This time I read it aloud to my daughters (9 and 6) and they loved it too! The best part was that as soon as I started reading, my boys (13 and 11), who I read it to years ago and they have both read it a few times themselves, would come over, sit with us and listen as well. It doesn’t matter how old you are, the magic in this book pulls you in. 
I love the characters in the story. Mr. Dahl did an excellent job of describing each of the characters and their personalities. From the old grandparents at home in bed to the children in the factory, each character comes to life on the page.  My favorite characters are Charlie and Grandpa Joe. I especially like how Grandpa Joe bursts out of bed and suddenly has so much energy. Willy Wonka is a great character, too. I also love the creativity in this book. All the different rooms in the chocolate factory are unique and well described. I want a chocolate river in my house!!! The story is well written, it flows well, is easy to read and understand, and is just so much fun. I love that it teaches kids to dream and to use their imaginations. I also love that it talks about throwing the t.v. out the window and reading instead. 🙂  (I’ll have more on that in a different post coming soon!) It also teaches kids not to be selfish, bratty, or disrespectful. 
As I was reading, I noticed that there is one swear word. I was shocked, actually, when I came to it, but it is there. I skipped over it so my girls didn’t even know, but a silent reader would see it. Other than that, and a few minor “accidents,” it is clean. Well, it does get a bit sticky and gooey in places, but there is no “intimacy” or violence. I highly recommend this book! It’s great for silent readers and read-alouds!
Rating: PG (Just that one little word……)
Recommendation: Silent Reading: 2-3rd grades and up, depending on reading level
                              Read-aloud: Kindergarten and up