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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reading and the 11+

We are often asked about what children need to read to ‘improve’ their minds. The ‘classics’ spring to mind.

‘The Story of Hiawatha’ by Longfellow is a real story – and the theme applies to today. Poor Hiawatha as Minnehaha fell to famine and fever. He then left his village, climbed into his canoe and whispered: “Westward! Westward!” So Hiawatha departed to the land of the hereafter.

What about ‘The Swiss Family Robinson’ by Johann Wyss? The boat gets stuck between rocks. The captain cries, “All is lost; lower the boats away!”

“Lost!” sob the children.

“Be calm my boys,” said I, “keep up your courage. Land is in sight.”

With a dad like that the family deserves to stay together.

The closing thought of this book is: “Learn, learn! Knowledge is power, freedom, happiness. If you want to enjoy life to the full you must work, and every day try to make the world better for your living in it.”

So if your child does not read at least some of the classics, how is he or she going to be able to be able to contribute to discussions about the hereafter or how to enjoy life to the full?

We are all waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows. We know that J.K. Rowling will leave us in a state of limbo. Her books must be classics now – and will still be classics in 50 years time. The books will have stimulated both children and adults to read. If any of you know the ending now, when the book is only published on July 27th, we would all be grateful.

So now you know. Even if you can not urge your child to read the story of Hiawatha and that of the Swiss Family Robinson you do know that you will b able to provide the material for a good read on the 27th of July.

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