Roald Dahl Comprehension Text

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Learn about this famous author while building literacy skills with this Roald Dahl comprehension sheet. A wonderful collection of resources based on the much-loved author's works. Includes comprehension activities and writing tasks.
1. Roald Dahl Comprehension Text
Roald would have agreed with his father. Sadly, If Dahl’s early life shared some of the tragedy
they never had opportunity to disagree on the and misfortune of his fictional heroes and
subject because Harald Dahl died of pneumonia heroines, such as James Henry Trotter and
when his son was just three years old. Matilda Wormwood, then the young Dahl also
shared their sense of adventure and mischief, as
detailed in the autobiographical account of his
childhood, Boy. Sorry, not autobiographical, ‘an
autobiography is a book a person writes about his
own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring
details’, whereas Boy is a curious selection of
memories which, despite his vivid imagination,
Roald Dahl’s life reads like one of his stories: its author insists are entirely true. Indeed, the
fabulous tales of the unexpected that somehow Great Mouse Plot of 1924 is substantiated by a
end with him as a giant of the publishing world, commemorative blue plaque on the otherwise
one of the most-loved authors of all time who unassuming building in Llandaff, Cardiff that
has sold more than 250 million books. was once Mrs Pratchett’s sweet shop, where Dahl
It started inauspiciously enough, in Wales. On the and his infant pals played a number of tricks
other hand, his Norwegian heritage meant that on the surly shop-owner, including putting a
there was always something a little otherworldly mouse in a jar of gobstoppers!
about Dahl. His father had settled in the UK Dahl’s escapades took on a more daredevil turn
in the late nineteenth century and wanted his when he joined the Royal Air Force in 1939,
children to receive a British education, which with World War II just over the horizon. His
he considered to be the best in the world; based adventures as a fighter pilot and carrying out
on his unhappy experiences at boarding school espionage missions for British intelligence are
and his vicious depiction of educators such as chronicled in Going Solo, the grown up (if such
Matilda’s Miss Trunchbull, it is doubtful whether a term could ever be applied to Dahl!) sequel
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2. Roald Dahl
to Boy. Asked to provide some war stories for including Sophie Dahl who was to become He was less impressed with what Hollywood did
an American newspaper, Dahl’s yarns were famous in her own right as a model and cook. to his own Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,
supposed to be edited by a journalist but it was which had been published in 1964, disowning
The sixties brought mixed emotions, blending
decided to print them exactly as they were, the film version for changes that it made to the
personal tragedy with professional success. In
resulting in his first published work. This was narrative, although Charlie and Willy Wonka
December 1960 the pram carrying four-month
followed shortly after by his first children’s remain beloved by generations of children.
old Theo Dahl was struck by a New York City cab,
book, The Gremlins, a short story about the
causing the baby to suffer from hydrocephalus, Dahl continued to write prolifically, though his
little devils who, as RAF folklore had it, were
an accumulation of fluid in the brain. As part of adult work was increasingly outshone by his
guilty of tampering with the mechanics of
his treatment, his ever-inventive father helped work for children, his eccentric creations given
faulty aircraft.
to design the Wade-Dahl-Till (WDT) valve, life by quirky illustrator Quentin Blake, with
which is still used to alleviate the condition. whom he formed a fertile partnership. The pair
In 1962 his first daughter, Olivia, died of hit a hot streak in the 1980s, producing The
measles aged just seven. And then in 1965, Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine, The BFG,
while pregnant with their fifth child, Lucy, The Witches and Matilda, all of which quickly
Patricia Neal suffered from cerebral aneurysms became regarded as children’s classics. They
which left her severely debilitated. The couple’s were mostly written from his shed in Great
struggles as she learned to walk and talk again Missenden, Buckinghamshire, where he had
were dramatised in The Patricia Neal Story, settled with new wife Felicity, following his
in which Dahl himself became a character on divorce from Neal. The famous shed today forms
the big-screen, portrayed by matinee idol Dirk part of the Roald Dahl Museum, celebrating his
Bogarde. life’s work. Dahl died in 1990, aged seventy-
Cast as a flying ace for his war-time exploits, four, from a rare cancer of the blood. Hopefully
Meanwhile, Hollywood had come calling for
the dapper Dahl seemed destined for Hollywood. the numerous stage and screen adaptations
Dahl the screenwriter. He had befriended Ian
Film rights to The Gremlins were optioned by that continue to bring his memorable creations
Fleming, the creator of James Bond, during their
Walt Disney but the proposed animated film to new generations would have met with the
service years and was responsible for adapting
was never made. In 1953 he married American great man’s approval.
two Fleming novels into the classic films You
actress Patricia Neal. The celebrated actress
Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
and fledgling writer had five children together,
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