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Pippa Goodhart

Here is a great blog post reminding us the importance of reading stories aloud in schools. The blog is written by Pippa Goodhart, author of A Bottle of Happiness and is about a reunion event she attended at her old school. It is striking to us that what everyone remembered most was classroom storytime! Her message about the value of storytelling is a crucial one: children should always have the opportunity to listen to, enjoy, and get utterly absorbed in stories. It is a way to relax from the ever-increasing pressures and tests of the school day, and – equally importantly – ensures a continuing place for imagination.


Last Saturday I went to a wonderful event.  It was an 150th birthday party for the small Victorian primary school I had belonged to half a century ago.  It had closed as a school in the 1970s, converted into somebody’s home.  But the lady who lives there now realised that February 2017 was 150 years since the school opened ‘to educate the children of the labouring poor’, and she invited anyone who had been to the school to come to tea.


There was a cake in the shape of the school.  There were balloons.  There was bunting.  But most of all there was talk.  I heard Beryl, now in her late 80s, telling an equally elderly gentleman, “I never did like you, even when we was children!”, all with a beaming smile!


I talked with the ‘children’ of my generation at the school.  We remembered teachers and other children, filling-in the stories of their lives.  But the most intense and passionate conversation began with, “Do you remember Miss Locker reading us The Little Wooden Horse?”  “Yes!” we all did!  And we remembered readings of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, and many other stories, read to us, a chapter a day, last thing before ‘home time’.  We all agreed that story time was the best bit of the school day.


Back in those 1960s years, we children didn’t have to dissect or analyse those stories or their writing; we simply listened to them, sinking wholeheartedly into them.


I do hope that a small chunk of today’s school days can be spared for proper story enjoyment of that kind, free from any need to measure anything about the story or the children listening.


If you are an adult who remembers, or would like to discover, the joy of listening to a good story well read, listen to an audio book or two.  Enjoy!


Pippa Goodhart

A Bottle of Happiness


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