Did you know that famed children’s author Roald Dahl invented over 250 words? This ‘splendiferous’ inventor of snozzcumbers and frobscottle has inspired young readers for nearly 60 years. Fantasy literature encourages creativity and curiosity as readers form mental pictures of the fantastical worlds, zany characters, and action-packed adventures authors like Dahl use to make this genre of literature distinctive.
The fourth graders read a variety of Dahl’s books over the summer and will continue to read more as they begin the year. Two years ago, we began celebrating Roald Dahl Day on what would have been his 100th birthday and continue to pay tribute to this beloved author each year on September 13. Students dress as a favorite character, make a scrumdiddlyumptious book-inspired recipe, or construct an art piece inspired by one of his books. In addition, fourth grade readers learn to appreciate how literature can seep into math class, science experiments, library lessons, and music as they make important connections between many disciplines.
Our first assigned novel of the year, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, will present opportunities to reach into the wacky world of the Wonka Chocolate Factory for a taste of Mr. Dahl’s absurd inventions. Reading this book as a community of learners presents meaningful and valuable opportunities for students to engage with one another through literature. To extend their learning, student collaborators will use Roald Dahl’s vivid descriptions of the setting to construct three-dimensional scenes that include lights, sound, and movement through the use of the Hummingbird Robotics Kit. When combined, these creations will retell the story of Charlie Bucket through the eyes of the students. It is a phizz-whizzing good time!