The cover of the guide: a girl with glasses sitting on a pile of books, reading.

Matilda Reading Guide

Posted by Speakeasy News > Friday 03 May 2024 > Pedagogy Shine Bright Collège Shine Bright Lycée

Last year, we started a new collection of Reading Guides to help you introduce your pupils to reading fiction in English in collège and seconde. Our latest title is about to arrive in bookshops: Matilda by Roald Dahl!

Matilda was born from the vivid imagination of one of the world's best-loved and most-read children's authors: Roald Dahl. We struggled to choose just one of his novels, but Matilda is a good example of his books: it is full of funny, sometimes crazy, situations, that children and adults can enjoy together.

The eponymous heroine of the story is particularly inspiring for young people. Matilda is intelligent, curious and determined. She uses her intelligence to overcome the obstacles she faces in her life - and there are quite a few, from parents who can't understand why a child would want a book when they have TV, to a monstrous headteacher when Matilda finally manages to get her parents to send her to school. Her story can encourage teenager readers to believe in themselves and use their own intelligence and creativity to solve problems. The novel tackles universal themes such as courage, perseverance, friendship and empathy which are especially important in readers' formative years.

Underneath the humour in Matilda, as in so many of his novels, Roald Dahl also slips in social criticism about the educational system, abusive adults or the dangers of screens (back in the 1980s!) All food for thought for his young readers.

Step by step
Our guides start with an introduction to the author and the work, to prepare pupils for what they are going to read. We provide a chronological series of extracts that cover the main lines of the plot and each one is accompanied with tools to help pupils understand and get the most out of their reading. Each of the ten  parts in the guide ends with an intermediary task. And at the end of the guide, you’ll find two final tasks, and interdisciplinary project, further reading and watching ideas and a board game based on the story.

As pupils work through the guide, they will realise that they are able to read real extracts of fiction in English, which haven't been rewritten or simplified. It will build their confidence on the road to tackling a complete work of fiction.

You can find more information and browse an extract of the guide on the Nathan site.

And don't miss the first two titles: Gangsta Granny and Number the Stars

You can find out more about the collection in this video, presented by Corinne Escales.


We've been accompanying LLCER teachers and their 1ère and Terminale pupils with our Reading Guides for their set texts since 2019. You can find all the titles on our dedicated page.


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