Books as a Tool in a Child’s Education

Published: 2021-09-13 22:45:13
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Category: Family, Books

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Books are one of the most important tools in a child’s education, as they stimulate imagination and play as well as giving a wide range of vocabulary and language features which can provide inspiration. The three books I have chosen are The Very Hungry Caterpillar authored by Eric Carle, The Outsiders authored by S. E. Hinton and The Hunger Games authored by Suzanne Collins. The genres I selected were ‘themes’ and ‘visual features’ for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, ‘the characters’ and ‘language features/vocabulary’ for The Outsiders and ‘setting’ for The Hunger Games.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: is a children’s picture book that follows the life cycle of a caterpillar from coming out of its egg all the way to becoming a butterfly. Throughout the book are various educational themes such as counting, the days of the week, foods and the butterfly’s life stages. This is supported by the book’s visual features including beautiful collage illustrations with eaten holes in the pages which engage children to learn. For example, “on Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry”. This is shown by a drawing of two pears with two holes and this assists the child in identifying the number two. As a youngster, I would stare at each page for a couple of minutes explaining to mum what the caterpillar was doing and why. The book impacted my life because it was the very first book I remember reading and it encouraged me to read more books with varied themes. The Outsiders: is a novel that details the conflict between two rival gangs being the ‘greasers’ (poorer kids) and the Socs (upper class kids). The narrator and main character is Ponyboy Michael Curtis, a 14-year-old boy whose parents have been killed in a car accident and now lives with his two brothers. Sodapop Patrick Curtis is Ponyboy’s sixteen-year-old brother who left high school early and works at the local petrol station. Darry Shayne Curtis is the twenty-year-old brother and father figure of Ponyboy and Sodapop. He is smart and would be in college if life turned out different. The author engages the reader through these characters by using American slang from the 1960’s. Many of the words have to do with weapons, fighting, cigarettes and alcohol highlighting the world the characters live in. For example, “he wasn’t going to be a hood when he got old. He was going to get somewhere. Living the way we do would only make him more determined to get somewhere.” This quote is referring to Darry Curtis and a ‘hood’ means a young person always getting into trouble. I found the use of 1960’s slang really interesting because it has evolved over time and its use reflects the environment people are living in. It also helps me appreciate the opportunities that I have been given living here in Australia.
The Hunger Games: is a dystopian novel set in the future nation of Panem in North America where one teenage boy and girl from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death. The combatants (known as tributes) fight in a virtual outdoor arena set in the forest. The setting for the start of the battle is described as “Sixty seconds. That’s how long we’re required to stand on our metal circles before the sound of a gong releases us. Set off before the minute is up, and landmines blow off your legs. Food, containers of water, weapons, medicine, garments and fire starters. Strewn around the Cornucopia are other supplies, their value decreasing the further they are from the horn.” This description sets up the choices the characters will need to make to survive and the moral issues they face. On reflection, this aspect of the novel challenges me to think what action I would be prepared to take to survive, even if this action involved seriously injuring my opponent.
In conclusion, these are the three books that have had the most impact on making me the person that I am today. The Very Hungry Caterpillar introduced me to reading at a young age which was important in me developing a great interest for reading. The Outsiders places my problems in perspective when compared to other disadvantaged youths. Finally, The Hunger Games makes me think about my instinct for survival but at what moral cost.

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