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Learning & Development

Indian Storybook Cover Image -Rani Singh
“Knowledge is better than wealth; you have to look after wealth, but knowledge looks after you.”
African proverb

“Knowledge unused is like a torch in the hand of a blind man.”
Indian Proverb

Working With Children... Literally

Actress and author Rani Singh gives some tips on how to make literature fun for children.

Input Sessions

Make sure these are very exciting and visually stimulating. I don’t just go in as an established writer but see each session as a proper test of how engaged we all can be. So, I take pains to use visual stimulation like puppets, and I become part of the group as well as getting volunteers to come to me and take part in the session helping with the puppets or becoming characters.

This often results in some hilarious improvisation by the children. I teach a range of children including those with special needs and it shows that if you raise expectations of them, they will often meet those expectations.

Avoiding Stereotypes

I am often told that the best actor or the liveliest performer actually is the “naughtiest” child at school. I go in with no preconceived notions or labels so they just have to rise to my challenges. And they always do.

Q & A’s


I always make a time for questions and answers and somehow the children feel quite uninhibited when talking. Even 4-5 year olds seem to love discussions!

Unlocking Creativity

To keep the dynamics equal, I like to do a “talking circle.” Here, if I have told a story, the children sit in a circle and tell it back to me, a few sentences at a time, child by child, “passing it around the circle.”

This way they fill in any gaps in the story and sometimes we “circle talk” something completely different. This is a lovely way to get children’s imaginations going. They don’t have time to freeze or get shy, and if they do hesitate, I let them take their time or come back to them later. It rarely happens as they love this game.

Two Way Learning Process

All too often we treat children as people we should talk to or at but if we engage them and ask them to exercise their minds then we are really working their creativity.

Just as valid as my input story session of an ancient Islamic legend, for instance, could be a story made up by the child herself or one that she remembers being told. This is an area which adults can do lots more work, as it really fires up the children’s imaginations.

I often record the questions children ask me in a notebook as some of them are quite startling in their perceptiveness.

For Parents


Talking to your child, telling them of your personal experiences, talking about anything, encourages communication.

Whenever I need to research something, I demonstrate how books can be a useful tool. I keep dictionaries, a thesaurus, and encyclopaedias in the house and extol the values of search engines for finding out information.