Never underestimate the power of a bedtime story.
Picture the scene: the year is 1999. It’s bedtime in the Burdon household. My older sister, aged eight, is standing in the middle of the room and loudly refusing to go to bed. Meanwhile, my three year old brother and I, aged five, are fighting furiously over the top bunk bed. A civil war is brewing. That is, until Mum opens up a tatty, well-loved copy of Harry Potter. Instant ceasefire. We all gather round, eager to listen to the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione. It never failed.
Sound familiar? Like many others, the traditional bedtime story was an important part of our childhood. Even today, I often read before I go to sleep. It’s a great way of relaxing after a stressful day. These days, I’m re-reading Harry Potter for the millionth time – except now I’m reading it in German!
This is because, what my siblings and I didn’t realise was that Mum was tricking us into learning. Listening to brilliant stories - like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl or The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - helped to develop our English skills. Stories bring language to life in a way no textbook ever could. Through story-telling, words become tools for transforming the world around us.
From fairy tales to ghost stories, we learn so much from reading, listening to and sharing stories. And, most importantly, story-telling can be a truly magical experience. A good story is any story you enjoy, and can go back to again and again. It would be a tough choice to pick a favourite story. If I had to choose, it would probably be an old bedtime favourite. And if I could recommend one author, it would definitely be Roald Dahl. Trust me, with his books, you can never go wrong!