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Teachers: Literacy: Text

Last Updated: Friday September 15 2006 15:34 GMT

Research - Roald Dahl

Text level


Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka

The writer, who penned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, would have been 90 years old this year.

Use this lesson to celebrate one of the world's most respected authors or adapt it for others.

Learning aims

  • To find out more about popular authors and use this information to move onto more books by famous writers.


    Click below to read the story:

    Children reading

    Read a selection of Dahl's poems or complete one of his books over a longer period of time.

    Ask children if they are familiar with any of Dahl's work and if they know anything about the author.

    Guide the children into understanding that to find out more facts, they will have to undertake some research.

    Open the official Roald Dahl website and navigate some of the areas to allow the children to familiarise themselves with some of the content.

    Read a sample question, i.e. 'what date was Dahl born?' Show how to move around the sub-sections of the site as a way of fine-tuning the search. Ask where the answer is most likely to be found - childhood, wartime or family tragedy?

    Main activity

    Girl reading

    Give children a set of questions to answer by searching the web.

    See below in the Teacher's Background section for some sample questions.

    Print the information required so children can scan a hard copy if there is limited access to the computer or you want different techniques carried out.

    Extension activities

    Children select another author and devise a new set of questions based on the results of their searches.

    Write their own revolting poem based on Dahl's book, Revolting Rhymes.

    Dahl started to write a secret diary at the age of 8
    His first piece of written work was published in a newspaper in 1942
    His book titles include Danny Champion of the World, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches

    Vote for the class' favourite Dahl book or the best author.

    Either give a short list of nominees and an 'other' category or conduct a free vote.

    Teachers' background
    • 1. Where was Dahl born ?

      ANSWER: Llandaff, Wales

    • 2. What organisation did Dahl join when war broke out?

      ANSWER: Royal Air Force

    • 3. Complete the following book titles which Dahl wrote for grown-ups. a) Sometime... b) My Uncle...

      ANSWER: a) Never, b) Oswold

    • 4. Which award did Dahl win in 1983 for The Witches?

      ANSWER: Whitbread Award

    • 5. Name Dahl's five children.

      ANSWER: Olivia, Theo, Tessa, Ophelia and Lucy.

    • 6. When did Dahl begin boarding school?

      ANSWER: 1925

    • 7. What was Dahl's first book in 1943?

      ANSWER: The Gremlins

    • 8. When Was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory first published in the UK?

      ANSWER: 1967

    • 9. Dahl was known for writing in a hut. Did he use a typewriter? Then answer why or why not?

      ANSWER: No, he couldn't type.

    • 10. What did Dahl eat to satisfy his sweet tooth?

      ANSWER: Chocolate

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