Former BBC TV producer and children’s tutor Rehannah Mian tells us how she used her experience working with children to create immersive storybook events and publish a choose-your-own-adventure book to encourage a love for reading.
By Rehannah Mian
It’s hard to imagine but there is a world out there where children are terrified of books. I’m not talking about horror books either; I’m talking about everyday books that we see on school shelves, and at home.
As a child literacy specialist and tutor, I have discovered that book-terror is a very real thing in many children’s lives. I have tutored children who have had a melt down as soon as I’ve produced a book for them to read in the session, as they have struggled to connect with the current teaching methods that are used in schools.
We all learn in different ways, and while some of us are academic, others of us need a more creative and playful approach to learning. We tutors and teachers believe that we will only get all children to expected literacy levels by boosting their creativity and by allowing them to have fun as they learn.
So, free from the constraints of traditional teaching methods, I developed a most powerful and successful way to get younger children – aged 3 and upwards – connected with books. I created Magical Storybook events for children, where I immerse them into the storybook adventures. I take away the physical books and instead create the storybook world around them. The children get to meet the characters of the book and become the characters themselves, as they are completely drawn into an interactive, imaginary world.
This playful method of teaching literacy, has enabled children to discover the excitement of storytelling in their own way, magically connecting them to the books themselves.
The first Magical Storybook world that I brought to life was Alice in Wonderland. The real Alice led the children down the rabbit hole and taught them how to curtsey and bow to the Queen of Hearts before meeting and playing a game of Flamingo Croquet with her. They pretended to be all the other book characters that they met along the way too. The whole session was designed to give children an understanding of what makes each character so exciting.
These exciting sessions have had a massive positive impact on connecting children with books at a very early age.
I also wanted to create an equally interactive book that would encourage young children to read at home, so I have just published a unique ‘Create Your Own Adventure’ story/colouring book for children, aged 5+. The Martha and Chris Great Space Adventure is a book that children can colour in and draw in as they follow two young explorers on their adventures through space. Throughout the book, the reader also gets to decide where the characters go next. The whole book is great fun and children are absolutely loving it. I will continue to create experiences for young children that will show them the excitement of books, and hopefully make book-terror a thing of the past.
The Martha and Chris Great Space Adventure is available to buy here