B is for Book follows a group of primary schoolchildren in Hackney, London as they learn to read. Some of them make a flying start, but others find even recognising the alphabet a challenge.
The children must navigate a phonics-based method that is completely different to how their parents learned to read. Through their eyes, we discover how strange sounds slowly become letters, words and sentences. It’s an epic, and at times hilarious journey, which also serves as a reminder of the maddening complexity of the English language (to an adult, never mind a four-year-old).
Most of the families live on the local housing estate. Some parents are strongly aspirational, with rigidly enforced homework and nightly bedtime stories, some speak English as a foreign language but they care passionately about their children’s learning.
Over the course of the year, the children make an extraordinary leap forward. As they begin to master the mechanics of reading, they discover the magic of stories, which means they see the world around them in a new light. B is for Book offers a poignant insight into a process that all of us only ever do once in our lives.
A Century Films Production for BBC Four
1x 60 minutesExecutive ProducerLiesel EvansEdited byJames GoldFilmed, Animated and Directed bySam Benstead