Readers’ letters - February 3

This week is National Storytelling Week  a correspondent writes in recommending the benefits of fairy tales for children
This week is National Storytelling Week  a correspondent writes in recommending the benefits of fairy tales for children

Benefits of fairy tales

Once upon a time, about 40 years ago, I would spend many a happy moment reading my Ladybird fairy tale books over and over again. Those stories, along with repetitious recitals of nursery rhymes, set me in good stead for an appreciation of literature – as well as instilling valuable life skills and social messages.

As a mother, I enjoyed reciting them to my own children, but as a primary school teacher, I have used them as an introduction to topics for all areas of the curriculum: Dick Whittington for medieval history, the science of materials from the Three Little Pigs, and Cinderella as a starting point for work on telling the time.

Admittedly, they have not led me to become ‘Einstein’, but as the man himself wisely said: “If you want children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

In a world of ever-evolving technology, the basic elements of a good book are the most valuable and heart-warming. Children consume other media to create fantasy worlds and distance themselves from reality. But stories, and fairy tales in particular, are experts in animating human life, affecting what people are able to understand as real, as possible, and as worth doing or best avoided. They provide an alternative world of morality and naivety.

This National Storytelling Week, we need to focus on enriching young minds with classic values. Children should read and be read to. Recalling my own school days, trips and stories are at the forefront.

My parents didn’t study the theories of learning, but simply valued family time. What they achieved was two daughters who remember their childhood with fondness, and who have achieved success in their own endeavours – their ‘happily ever after’. Make a difference in your child’s life and involve the whole family in National Storytelling Week.

Sarah Weller

via email

human rights

On the Trump bandwagon?

I hope that, with all this attention on Donald Trump, the Tories don’t push any unpopular policies through as it would be ideal timing for them. Trump is a massive distraction for us in this country. At least while we focus on him we don’t need to think about issues such as poverty or social care.

I dislike him and am baffled how he got to be nominated, let alone win to become president, yet I suspect he has also become a bandwagon that many people jump on. Do these same protesters care about Tibet, China or Zimbabwe, just to name a few countries whose residents are suffering?

He obviously shouldn’t come here for a state visit but the Queen has been host to many a despot. Trump will not be the first.

Theresa May was friendly with Trump for, I suspect, future trade deals.

Why expect her to be any different? The UK Government is also very friendly to China and Saudi Arabia, two countries with massive human rights issues.

I do think a close eye should be kept on Trump.

At best, he is an egocentric businessman with zero political experience playing at being president. But, at worst – and this is what protesters fear – possibly he is a potentially dangerous fascist dictator. The world has plenty of these, and we don’t need any more.

But I hope people don’t forget what happens here is also important and also, if you care about human rights affected by USA policies, why not care about human rights elsewhere in the world? Let’s open our eyes to all the human rights abuses in the world.

Jane

via email