Albert Einstein was once asked how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. “If you want your children to be intelligent”, he said, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales”. Mr Einstein knew a thing or two. As educators our number one primary aim should be to give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand.
In education, reading is how children access every area of the curriculum. Reading is not an “extra”, it is central to our daily life at school. If there was one skill that all children should leave school with, it is the ability to read and to read well.
Reading gives children knowledge and understanding in education, in their future life and it feeds their imagination. Reading develop language skills and our ability to decode meaning. Just as exercising in the gym keeps our fitness levels up, exercising our brain keeps it lively.
Teaching children to read is the single most important thing we do as educators and parents. Is enough reading going on at Knighton; absolutely yes. But is enough, enough? Absolutely not! We can and should be encouraging more.
I agree with Albert Einstein, more fairy tales it is.
As a footnote, Einstein’s parents worried that he had a learning disability because he was very slow to learn to talk. When he started school, he did very well; he was a creative and persistent problem-solver but he hated the rote, disciplined style of the teachers at his Munich school, and he dropped out when he was 15.
For the girls at Knighton, being well-read and a ‘creative and persistent problem solver’ strikes me as the perfect educational philosophy.