How Children’s Book Characters Can be Educational Resources

September 10th played host to International Literacy Day and with the celebrations and events that came with it, shocking statistics revealed that globally as many as 800 million adults are illiterate and 100 million children don’t attend school each day.

As parents it’s important that we encourage our children to enjoy reading, learning new vocabulary and harnessing their imagination from an early age. Daily reading activities are a great way to instil curiosity, imagination and a little bit of learning into your child’s early years, and the classic characters that live within the pages of children’s books can also assist can be a great educational resource for their formal education.

One of the most exciting parts of parenting is seeing your child learn and develop new skills, and what could be more important and rewarding than to teach kids English? It’s a lifelong skill and as this post shows, their favorite books can teach them about everything from art to history…

How Kids’ Book Characters Can Be Used To Teach And Motivate:

Take a history lesson with Where’s Waldo?

Children and adults alike have been trying to spot the stripe-loving Waldo for nearly 25 years, but the British illustrator behind the books actually added this iconic character as an afterthought.  Martin Hanford enjoyed depicting epic battle scenes and used Waldo as a link for each scene.

If your child finds reading frustrating or is uninterested in history and geography, the Waldo series of books is a great way to motivate discussions and get to grips with the basics of both topics. Each book features a variety of eras and historical scenes such as Ancient Egypt, Viking invasions and medieval feasts, so why not use them as a jumping off point and use the additional checklists to teach your child about traditional costumes, living conditions, typical jobs etc for each scene.

Dr. Seuss and the language of learning

The popular series of colorful books by Dr Seuss have been loved by generations of children. Their colorful pages, riddles and rhymes offer a fantastic opportunity for parents to encourage language learning and poetry.

Use your child’s favourite Dr. Seuss book to help teach them about the joys of poetry – the books were famed for their use of iambic and anapaestic tetrameter – and encourage them to write their own poem to demonstrate what they enjoyed about reading the book. These books also offer the opportunity to introduce younger children to subjects such as conservation, greed and racism.

The Harry Potter homework chart

The boy with the lightning bolt scar has become famous the world over, so why not borrow a little bit of his magic to help your children keep track of their homework? Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest of JK Rowling’s cast of characters can all help.

Start by designing the chart together and base it around your child’s favourite character and house (Harry belongs to Gryffindor House), adding columns for subject, assignment, due date and a section for ticking off or adding a star when the work has been completed.

Spark mathematical imagination with Alice

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, has been interpreted many times through songs, films, television and poetry. The very idea of talking playing cards, shrinking potions and top-hat wearing mice seems ludicrous, but this book is a fantastic example of creative writing, science and even math.

Alice changes size several times in the book and you could use this to demonstrate scale, perspective and mathematic formulas to a child struggling to complete their math homework. Math is one of those subjects hat children are often floored by because they can’t relate equations and exercises to real life – by using Alice or their favourite book character to show how the subject is used in fun situations, they should be able to understand the subject matter better.

Are there any games or activities that you play with your child to motivate them to complete their school work?

Guest post by Louise Blake, who is a new mum with a passion for architecture and home design.  She’s a huge animal lover, and when not out taking her dog for nice long walks, she can found practicing yoga or pilates.