It’s Friday and here we are again having maybe overlooked our mid-week reads…but worry not! As you can see here, we used to be quite good at reviewing books at the end of the week so for the purposes of this post we’ll be conjuring the ghost of entries-past…
Yesterday was National Poetry Day and the theme for 2014 was ‘Remember’. We really enjoyed seeing a wide variety of poems shared across social media (twitter was great for this!) and the Forward Arts Foundation website is also full of great resources for you to use. Eight contemporary children’s poets produced brand new works especially for the day, which you can see and download for free via their website– great for use with Key Stage 1, 2 and 3, we particularly liked ‘Dear Mug’ by Roger Stevens which had us longing for the Autumn.
Another exciting initiative we think is worth discussing is Read On. Get On. a national campaign designed to get all children reading well by the age of 11. Their mission is to ensure by 2025, all our children will start secondary school as confident readers. We can all do something toward this – just ten minutes reading a day with a child makes a huge difference and can help them fall in love with and understand the power of reading. The National Literacy Trust is a partner in the campaign, and their Director, Jonathan Douglas, has written a blog-piece about it which can be found here. The campaign is also supported by a report commissioned by Save the Children, which can be found here. If you’re interested in learning more, then take a look at the official webpage: http://www.readongeton.org.uk/
Also this week, we hosted a twilight training session on how to set up and get the most out of a school reading blog and we’d like to thank the always brilliant Jon Biddle for contributing to the workshop- we’re big fans of his blog and the one he uses with his class, and would recommend bookmarking and reading these both, particularly if you’re interested in seeing how well you can integrate social media into any literacy lessons.
So, after all that, here’s what our office have been reading this week in our (belated) What we’re reading Wednesday (even though it’s Friday…)
Apryl: I was over the moon when I discovered that Marcus Sedgwick had written a book in a contemporary setting and I was even happier when I discovered that it was set partially in New York- aka- a city I love dearly! I finished She is Not Invisible in a few days and was really really impressed; Laureth and her brother Benjamin make an unsupervised visit to NYC to look for her Father, a famous author whose prized ideas notebook has been found in suspicious circumstances. I really like the way Laureth’s tale was interwoven with pages from her father’s notes, and it also got me thinking for hours about coincidences, one of the book’s central themes. Definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoy theorising the regular occurence of numbers- you’ll never look at 354 in the same way ever again.
Gail: Slobcat by Paul Geraghty. I love Geraghty’s animal paintings and this picture book caught my eye while I was having lunch today! It’s the story of a supposedly lazy pet cat but the illustrations tell another story; this cat is busy chasing off burglars and rats and rescuing people from tricky situations while the family are blissfully ignorant! Great for getting small children to look really closely at pictures to see that they tell a different story to the narrative of the book!
Harriet: The Ransom of Dond feels like an ancient legend which has grown organically out of the landscape and seas of Ireland. However it is actually the last story written by the late Siobhan Dowd, and is published as a novella, strewn through with atmospheric two-tone illustrations by Pam Smy. According to the gods the thirteenth child of a village woman is doomed to die on her thirteenth birthday to guarantee the good fortune of the village. Does she die, or is there a way to defeat the will of both the gods and the fearful villagers?
Mandy: Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre; This winning pair have followed up Oliver and the Seawigs with another great read for your lower KS2. Astra is on her way to the planet Nova Mundi on a one hundred and ninety-nine year journey with her parents and baby brother, who are conveniently asleep for most of the journey. This story has everything: girl-eating monster cakes, robots, aliens and friendly shape shifting spaghetti as well as a good girl main character and great plot.
Our previous Wednesday reads can be found here.