"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination Will Get You Everywhere."- Albert Einstein
How did that butterfly land on the tip of the cat's snout?
This question sets the ball rolling for several more questions such as what happened before this photo was captured? Where is this happening? Are they friends? Or is the cat going to gobble up the butterfly? Do cats eat butterflies?...Dear reader, feel free to take the train of your imagination and add more questions to this list.
A story begins...
Perhaps that butterfly landed there by mistake and the cat pretends to be a friend. But in fact he is a cunning cat and the butterfly being absolutely naive falls into the trap set by the cat. Or so you think. The butterfly discovers soon enough that trouble lies ahead and he flew away real quick leaving the cat disgruntled.
Reading for pleasure helps young readers to make connections
The above story was written by one of the readers at the Young Readers' Club. As the group heard this story being read out, some said that the story reminded them of a story in which a bird tries to act smart with a tortoise by inviting him over lunch. The child who wrote it revealed that he drew inspiration from a Panchatantra story.
Although inspired by a previously written story with totally different characters, the story brings to light several nuances in the approach taken to write this story. Being an avid reader, this child understands the importance of some elements that make a story an engaging read.
The conflict in the story by portraying the cat, the larger character in the picture as someone who has an edge over the little butterfly who being much smaller in size can be at a disadvantage.
The above conflict introduces an element of danger, a hook in the story which is likely to make the reader wonder what could happen next? Will it be the end of that butterfly? Or will there be an unexpected event in which these two become good friends?
Then comes along the twist that the cat is not someone he appears but infact a cunning cat who has evil plans- A suspense element that is good enough to get the reader to the edge of the chair.
The resistance to give the story a negative ending but turn it around in the last minute and save the butterfly. Generally happy endings are appreciated. Tragedies are not universally appreciated.
The connection that this child could make with a story that he had read earlier. Clearly the story had an impact on him and hence when he was thinking about the direction the story should take going forward, the idea came up just in time although it has been awhile since he read and enjoyed the story.
The logical flow in the story indicates an understanding of the need for one idea to naturally flow to the next- Only then can the reader understand and appreciate the story.
The connection that this child could make with a story that he had read earlier, is special. Clearly, the story had an impact on him and hence when he was thinking about the direction the story should take going forward, the idea came up just in time although it has been awhile since he read and enjoyed the story.
Raising questions fuels imagination
When challenged to take a completely opposite view of the story, interesting perspectives emerged. Why is the cat considered powerful simply based on his size? Isn't the butterfly stronger as it has wings to fly and can get into the small places through which the cat's paw may not pass through entirely? Why can't the butterfly be the cunning one who sets a trap for the cat? These questions could lead to a completely different scene and perhaps even be completely "out of the box".
Imagination leads to new discoveries
While imagination can be extremely exciting it also involves a lot of visualization, attention to detail and at times could lead to more reading in the spirit of discovery. For instance one of the readers chose to write a character sketch of an adorable dog whom she wanted to use as a character in her story. One thing led to another and a story emerged until she got stuck at one point because she realized that she don't know anything about dogs. "Do they like having a bath?" she asked. No one in the group was sure and she set off to google to find the answer. She later shared that they don't mind baths but need not necessarily love them either. That finding got woven into her character sketch and eventually in to the delightful story that she wrote later. In all probability this is a fact that she will not easily forget.
Considering reading as an activity that is confined to school textbooks denies the child of these benefits and more. Making time to unwind with a chosen book everyday has tremendous benefit not just academically but even in terms of long term intellectual development. Access to books is the key. While buying books all the time may be less practical, library memberships go a long way in making a world of difference.
If you found this article useful, click on the button below to stay informed.
Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-11 age group, the Young Executives' Club program offers soft skills development course for the 12-14 age group. New batch starting in May. Need more information? Please fill in the contact form below and we will reach out to you asap.