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Celebrating Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday

matildaIt is Roald Dahl’s 100 birthday on 13th September 2016.  There are some wonderful resources and texts to help bring this celebration to life and help pupils enjoy the work of this amazingly, creative writer!

If you want to learn more about his wonderful life and understand the impact this had on the writing then you should read Michael Rosen’s very informative and perceptive biography entitled Fantastic Mr Dahl:

It gave great insight into Dahl’s creations of plots and characters with snippets from a variety of his books. As a teacher it allowed me to feel very confident in my knowledge of the author which I could then use to underpin my teaching and it helped the pupils see how much he was influenced by growing up with his heart tied so strongly to Norway, the importance of his family, his time in the air-force during the war and his early work in America.

family pichomesick

To learn more about his life there are some great clips that could be downloaded from You tube. Some have been created by pupils to celebrate his work, whilst extracts from longer more complex programmes, such as the excellent 2016 BBC documentary The Marvellous World of Roald Dahl, could be shared

The Roald Dahl Museum website is also a great resource for pupils who want to learn about his life and work. Just by learning about his daily ritual @@@@@@@ in his writing hut, that no-one else was allowed into gives real insight into the way that his imagination worked:

RD front roomA recreation of Dahl’s writing shed on display at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

In July 2016 a wonderful new text was released, that is packed with ideas for teaching many of Dahl’s books. I’ve read it cover to cover and want to use it with all year groups in KS 1 and KS 2 as it is designed like a scrapbook to pour over.


gloriuptiousinside book

Dahl’s texts can be explored in every year group. I have allocated different texts to the different year groups but these are flexible and are dependent on the abilities of the pupils and their interests:

  • Year 1 – The Giraffe the Pelly and me/
  • Year 2 – The Twits / The Enormous Crocodile/ Revolting Rhymes
  • Year 3 – George’s Marvellous Medicine / Esio Trot / James and the Giant Peach
  • Year 4 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory /
  • Year 5 – The BFG / Matilda / The Witches
  • Year 6 – Solo/ Danny the Champion of the world

Ideas for The Twits:


Extracts from The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl

twits3Scholastic’s Read and Respond booklets are always packed with ideas for bringing the reading aspect of the learning to life




Dahl’s ability to bring characters to life is a wonderful gift. Mr Twit has to be one of his most disgusting creations and children love to explore how foul he really is:



Pupils writing their own versions of the tricks from The Twits

Possible ideas for The BFG:BFG

  • Capture how hard Sophie’s life in the orphanage was by creating a copy of the rules:


(Extract from The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl)

  • Use the language of the BFG to help pupils play with language – Give them the language in context and ask them to deduce the meaning from this or from the sound/elements of the world and then produce a glossary for helping the Queen to understand what he is saying:



  • Write a description of a nightmare or dream after reading an extract from Dahl’s B and then create a dreamcatcher display with their writing in a jar or actually create dreamcatcher jars to inspire writing:





Cut open a glow stick &  pour into a jar. Add diamond  glitter and seal the top with a lid. Shake!                                              

Cotton wool, food colouring, water and glitter glue

  • Create new giants to complement the characters of The Bloodbottler, The Gizzardgulper and the Fleshlumpeater. Read extracts from The BFG and watch the animated versions and then trailers from the new film or extracts from the film Jack the Giant Slayer. Once they have some ideas they could analyse how the original characters are described in The Gloriumptious worlds of Roald Dahl:

the giants

  • Watch the Queen’s Christmas day speech to learn how eloquently the Queen speaks and ask the pupils to write her diary recounting the day she met the Big Friendly Giant.



It is always magical to hear the great man himself reading his stories and this recently released recording of him reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other stories is a magical way to share the texts with your children:




Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts should be on every school’s poetry curriculum as both show his mastery with rhyme and his ability to twist ideas and play with the reader:

dirty beastsdirty beasts 2revolting rhymes


My favourite poem from these books has to be Little Red Riding Hood. I love sharing it with pupils and begin by discussing the children’s understanding of the original story. A zone of relevance chart can be used to explore the personality and behaviour of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s great for challenging pupils to have opinions about a character and then have to justify their ideas, using the text. They can then move the words around the chart to ensure they put them in the right place on the chart. They can be encouraged to find their own words to put onto the zone of relevant chart. When doing this activity a Year 2 child actually said he thought she was prepared as she carried a pistol in her knickers and was ready for action! Another child agreed with him and said she thought Red Riding Hood was determined  because she actually shot the wolf three times ‘bang, bang, bang’.


completey revolting rhymes


Maddy Barnes has written some questions to be used with ‘Tummyticklers’, one of the recipes from Completely Revolting Recipes:

There are lots of other texts that are available to help children really enjoy all the different    aspects of Dahl as a writer. They are both full of really interesting snippets and interesting articles!

spotty powder

mischief and mayhem








Using displays to share the love of Dahl is also a great way to celebrate his wonderful talents. By creating a working wall that pupils add to over the course of the unit of work pupils can see the connections between the books. Post-it-notes make it an organic study and pupils are continually adding to their ideas:


Pupils can be given specific books to study for a display or maybe create their own scrap-book about their favourite Dahl book:


Each class could be given an aspect to create a display about and then the school could be filled with completely different presentations:









Over the course of the unit of work pupils could share some of his comments on how life should be lived. These would be great for discussion:



You can purchase your Roald Dahl books and toys from our website here or pop into see us.

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