Roald Dahl author study: making a difference through literature


This project will be carried out by Maria Laura Garcia Alvarez, Patricia Weijsenfeld fourth grade teachers and Milagros Scosceria, assistant, together with Valeria Battioli our IT teacher and the guidance of Karen Roberts as our mentor.
In 4th grade, we carry out an author study on Roald Dahl as one of our Literature projects. Firstly, we introduce Roald Dahl to our students by carrying out a research on the author’s biography and read “The Minpins” as a stepping stone to begin analyzing the different strategies Roald Dahl uses to capture his readers. We continue our work by reading “James and Giant Peach”. Students are given the opportunity to read extra books, both at home and at school, in order to be exposed to more of Dahl’s work. During this author study students will be able to discover and analyze how Roald Dahl became a vocabulary inventor to capture readers´ imagination and interest. By doing so Dahl is able to create the perfect atmosphere and intrigue to keep one hooked onto his books.

Fourth grade students will create a Virtual Museum about the author and his work, including different elements that will depict their understanding of Dahl’s style. Students will develop independence while working on the museum. They will learn how to use ipads for multimedia purposes, take and send photos by mail, edit and crop pictures, insert work done with other apps, etc. They will use the PPT to design the Virtual Museum as a way of presenting the project, so the audience can navigate around as if they were in a real museum.
We also pay great attention to the power the illustrators have in conveying far more than just words. This is achieved by analyzing Quentin Blake´s techniques, who has illustrated all of Dahl’s books, except THE MINPINS, and comparing them with Patrick Benson, illustrator of The Minpins. Here we will look into the different feelings that arise while looking at an illustration from the book we are reading using “Chalk and Talk” and other strategies. Fourth graders find it hard to talk about their feelings so we will expose them to a variety of different words and situations to express their feelings.

During this year we explain and develop the idea of MINDSET. While nurturing the different stances we will work hard on EMPATHY. According to Mars and Hertz “Empathetic children will fight for social justice, equality and fairness in the classroom, just as we hope that they will one day do in the world.”


imageBased on this thought we wanted to link the notion that illustrators brighten up the stories with Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. This is an organization which helps to make life better for seriously ill children in the UK. They focus on helping those who have the biggest needs, and who aren’t being fully supported by anybody else. This might be because they have a serious rare condition, are living in poverty, or have no family at all. We want our project to be part of a real-life situation but mostly get our children to empathize with those who surround us and have less chances than they do. We will get in touch with Camila Vilcinskas to help us identify a centre, in San Fernando, we can work with. As a final project our idea is to create murals in the fashion of Quentin Blake to decorate and bring a shaft of light in an otherwise bleak environment.

Categories: Literacy, Primary School, Professional Development Contest 2016

1 reply

  1. Very interesting project!

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