Our politicians talk about ‘the basics’ all the time, but what they mean are things that you can correct at the last minute on your word processor: spelling, punctuation, that kind of thing. But the most basic thing of all is your attitude to language. If your attitude to language has been generated by a parent who enjoys it with you, who sits you on their lap and reads with you and tells stories to you and sings songs with you and talks about the story with you and asks you questions and answers your questions, then you will grow up with a basic sense that language is fun. Language is for talking and sharing things and enjoying rhymes and songs and riddles and things like that. That’s so important. I can’t begin to express how important that is; the most important thing of all. A sense that language belongs to us, and we belong in it, and that it’s fun to be there and we can take risks with it and say silly things in it and it doesn’t matter and it’s funny.
Philip Pullman on storytelling in The Guardian