Enid Blyton: Learning About a Famous Writer in High School English Class
Enid Blyton is a fascinating and complex writer who is an ideal starting point for junior high school English students beginning to learn about biographical writing. Here is a quick break down that you could use for an Enid Blyton author study lesson plan with students in junior high school English:
Enid Blyton was born in London in 1897.
She lived with her family of a mother, father and two younger brothers.
She taught for a number of years before becoming a writer.
She began her career with a book of poems called Child Whispers, which was published in 1922.
She later wrote a great many books, including The Famous Five series, The Secret Seven series, The Wishing Tree, The Magic Faraway Tree, the Noddy books and the Naughtiest Girl series.
Enid Blyton, author of over 600 books for children in a career spanning 40 years, died in 1968 at the age of 71 years. She left behind a legacy of children's writing which has fascinated and captivated children over many decades since her death.
Author Study Lesson Plan Ideas
Begin this Enid Blyton author study lesson plan by encouraging students to rediscover the simple joys of reading Enid Blyton books - provide a sample yourself, engage in some small group shared reading tasks, or introduce a taped or CD story of one of her books.
Encourage students to generate research focus questions based on Enid Blyton, and to suggest some useful research tools. Encourage students to think beyond research which is purely Internet based, and to incorporate author study guides, examples of other children's writers of the same period, as well as alternative formats such as maps of the towns where Enid Blyton lived. Technology can be used through a Google maps activity so that students can 'see' the towns of Ipswich, Bekenham, Dulwich and Buckinghamshire which were features of various stages of her life.
Generate word and phrase lists of unusual and interesting phrases which are used in Enid Blyton books and which demonstrate the period in which she lived and wrote (great for extending sight word recognition for ESL learners too!). For many students this can be a useful way of exploring different language forms and conventions, as well as using her books, with their simple but engaging narratives and limited character numbers and plot sequences, to support weaker students who may otherwise struggle with more complex texts.
Choose one of the books to use for an in depth study, and introduce students to the notion of drawing on the text of a particular book to draw inferences and provide examples about the author themselves. Ask questions and pose discussion generator statements such as:
- What can we learn about what Enid Blyton, author, thought about the roles of girls and boys in society, compared with what we know about her life as Enid Blyton, mother and wife?
- What would a publisher say if you wrote a book proposal nowadays with Noddy and Big Ears as central characters?
- Why do children still enjoy reading books like The Famous Five and The Secret Seven?
- If you were a film director and you had to cast characters in a film based on a Famous Five book, who would you choose to play the leading roles? (Note that this activity can be repeated for many of the Enid Blyton books, particularly those with multiple characters).
Links to Other Learning about Children's Authors
This Enid Blyton author study and lesson starter can be linked with lesson plans related to other authors, such as Roald Dahl or Eric Carle. It is also a good fit with activities related to book reviews and book studies for high school English lessons. Learning about children's writers in high school English class can be a fun and engaging way of generating interesting learning in a low key, relaxed and success focussed manner with students across all ability levels.