Primary – Roald Dahl name-play activity

There’s nothing children like more than playing with words, it’s a part of the development of language and Roald Dahl realised this in his books, especially in The Vicar of Nibbleswick and Esio Trot where he gets a great deal of laughter from reversing the spellings of words.

My class have spent many a rainy playtime laughing at the silliness of spelling their names backwards, amongst them May Spiller who became Rellips Yam which they thought might have been some kind of Dahl-ian conserve or a tropical vegetable.

Some may have read Esio Trot but you could read a little from it to remind them. Then for a fun filler during the afternoon, with a nod to careful writing and copying down, get the children to practise on their own names or those of people they know. Move on to investigating the reversal of everyday objects. Apart from being a lot of fun it also allows you to identify those visual learners who can turn a word around correctly in their mind. It can also flag up those who may have dyslexic tendencies so some children may need the letters of their names written individually on cards for them to rearrange. You can extend the activity by looking at anagrams of simple words and investigate whether there are anagrams of their names.

Siwel Evad (Dave Lewis)
Portsmouth High School Junior Dept

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