Immersed in Stories

We’ve been absorbing A LOT of stories lately: Roald Dahl audio books in the car for starters – so far we’ve enjoyed The BFG, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and now Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

I love that D is enjoying them too as they aren’t the sort of books that she would choose to read at bedtime, but somehow she finds it easier to absorb while sitting in the car.  We’re also reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and have watched the Johnny Depp film version several times!

Since deschooling I’ve come to value all methods of story telling.  Until recently I had an arbitrary rule that the girls couldn’t watch a film version of a book until they had read the book itself.  I valued books above films.  I still do in a way, as they give your head more room to imagine characters and the scenery, and you get so much more detail.  BUT, I can now see that films have an important place in story telling too.

For months, M has been desperate to watch the last five Harry Potter films, but we were stuck because the vocabulary in The Goblet of Fire was too difficult for her to understand and so due to my ruling, she couldn’t watch the film either.  I recently realised this rule was a bit pointless and we watched ALL the films!  She has been able to take in, understand and retain all the characters and twists in the plot, and remembers better than I do which order the films come in and what happens in each one.

Through the films, M is learning about human behaviour, emotions, reactions and language that are way beyond her years, but this is fine by me – she is learning in a safe setting where she is free to ask questions and we can take the time to discuss small details that she doesn’t understand.  Amazingly, she doesn’t find the films too frightening either!  She has watched them all by my side and is now re-watching them on her own and is seemingly trying to memorise each one. 🙂

The other important point about films is that they can lead you to books you wouldn’t otherwise have read.  M enjoyed watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on film and I found all 13 books for a steal on Ebay.  I can’t wait to get stuck into them with her.


All these stories have led to both girls being eager to create their own: M has been writing a script for a play with help from J; and D has started a novel about her two toys!!  M now says she wants to be a writer AND a librarian! 🙂


12 thoughts on “Immersed in Stories

  1. I had some health worker criticise me. When I had a babe in arms, an 19 months old and a 36 month old at home, me and the eldest would collapse on the sofa and watch a film every afternoon. The middlest napped. The baby fed. I snoozed on and off. And they were such precious times. Some of those kid’s films are amazing and actually open up philosophical ideas at a level we can all of us understand.
    Anyway, the health visitor said we were watching too much TV. I told her she was wrong. She spent the next hour trying to diagnose me with depression as a result. I digress.
    We are just getting into spoken word books and really looking forward to a few long journeys to listen to Fantastic Mr Fox.


  2. It certainly think that films have a role to play in education especially if they give a child the desire to then read the book. I must admit that we tend to read first watch second but my eldest is a bit of a book worm so it’s normally just because he has read something before we have the chance to find the film first:)
    Lemony Snicket books are fabulous – I’m sure they will go down very well.
    Thanks for linking up with this weeks #himeedlinkup 🙂


  3. I am actually looking for some good audio books as we are now driving a lot more since we moved. Are the Dahl audio books scary at all ? My 6 year old loves stories but is very sensitive.


  4. I think it’s great that your girls are enjoying the films and finding they provide a way into the ‘older and harder books’. I know that this is something that I have found for myself particularly with Dickens, the film and tv adaptations (not to mention audio books) have given me a desire to actually read the books, and even when I’ve not succeeded, I’ve not been deprived of his fantastic story crafting.
    Our two love tv movies, and a particular favourite of our eldest is ‘An American Tail’ directed by Spielberg, about a mouse family who leave Russia during the Cossack reign of terror and head to America, where there are no cats and streets paved with cheese. It was around when I was a primary school kid (20-25 years ago!) and is brilliant. G can quote and completely commit to playing a whole mini-scene from it, complete with near tears- it’s completely captured her imagination and enhanced her vocabulary and concept of life outside of her, and she’s not quite 2.5!
    I still think that reading books is the thicker end of the wedge which gives you more room to provide your own detail and colour, which is very hard to do once you’ve seen the film version, but as an actress I am passionate about storytelling and people’s stories being heard and understood, so anything that does that is great with me!
    I loved Roald Dahl as a kid, but found The Twits and especially The Witches really quite scary until I was well into secondary school, and even then quite tough- the mixed blessing/curse of a virile and vivid imagination.
    Glad you agree enjoying yourselves.


  5. My kids enjoy stories from books, and also films, tv shows, computer games, audio books. Recently I read them Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, listened to it in the car, and watched both the film versions! We all felt the Johnny Depp one was much closer to the book.
    I really want the Book People Roald Dahl CD collection but it’s sold out at the moment.


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