In my last post, I explored how reading Dr. Seuss’ Bartholomew and the Oobleck
to my two older girls (ages 7 and 9) might help them indirectly build background knowledge, as explained in Fisher and Frey’s article Building and Activating Background Knowledge. In that article, the authors state:
“…reading a wide range of texts on a given topic builds background knowledge. When students read texts at their reading level, their understanding of the topic improves.”
So, I wondered what background knowledge is being indirectly built by reading this text.
Some possible topics and messages could be:
- The world of royal hierarchy: Kings have people who work and live under them
- The nature of being a ruler vs. being a leader.
- What power can do to a person / The desire for power can blind a person to what is going on around them: the ‘riches’ they already enjoy as well as the suffering of the people around you.
- Be careful what you wish for.
- The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
- A hero can be anyone, including the smallest person with the least amount of power.
- Bravery means standing up for what is right in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
- Taking responsibility for one’s actions, particularly mistakes.
- The power of saying “Sorry”.
- Change is not always for the better.
The question I now have is: will my girls get all of that from hearing this book read to them? How much should I guide them to a particular understanding of this text?