It seems like a long time ago now, but just before Easter, our Norwich KS2 Reading 4 Pleasure group met for the second time to discuss the books they’d been given to read and share with their pupils throughout the Spring term. As usual, lots of great book-related chat was had and we were really impressed to hear how the various titles had been received by both adults and children.
Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow
- Recently adapted into a film- ‘The Boxtrolls’- but children didn’t seem to make much connection between this and the book.
- Seemed to go down well with pupils but not our adult-readers!
The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard
- Enjoyed a great deal by those who read it- very sweet story, though not memorable.
- Thought the cover lacked a lot of appeal and may have put off some young readers.
A Word in Your Ear by Tony Ross
- Boy readers LOVED this!
- Short story format went down really well- lots of children enjoyed that they could dip in and out, especially as it looked as though they were reading a full novel.
- Very creepy in places; stories are quite bleak- lots of death.
Frank Enstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka
- Described by one pupil as a book for “someone who likes science who wants to read a story.”
- Everyone liked the way it used complex science language but in accessible way.
- The way the text is broken up with diagrams worked really well.
- Perhaps too American?
The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird
- Generally not much uptake from pupils, though it was really well received by those adults who read it- perhaps the cover was off-putting or unappealing to young readers?
- A different take on a sports story, one with appeal for both genders.
The Power of Three by H.L. Dennis
- Well-received by older readers – Y6 very keen.
- Book rooted in truth (set in Bletchley Park and involves codes and code-breaking!)
- Lots of potential for follow-up: looking at codes, plus interactive website to accompany the story, as well as groundwork for investigating the real history behind enigma and WW2.
Journey by Aaron Becker
- Received the best of all titles discussed this term- by both staff and pupils!
- Lots of powerful discussion came from the book, and lends itself really well to creative and visual responses. Has real potential for use in the classroom.
- Discussed how it can be followed-up by the sequel, Quest, which has a similar format to Journey.
Cecilia, a teacher from Bignold Primary (who were hosting us for the afternoon!), had some brilliant results using ‘Journey’ with her Year 4 class and said that the wordless format of the book had given it a universal appeal, especially with EAL students. The title became a real focus point in the week surrounding World Book Day with lessons planned around it, and she also linked it to the children’s exploration into human rights, in particular the way that rights and wrongs are represented in stories. The children were encouraged to look at the pictures and talk through the story which led to great discussion about what it can feel like to not be listened to. They then responded creatively, linking pictures from the book to articles from the UN’s convention on the rights of the child. We were so impressed to see how thoughtfully and enthusiastically Cecilia’s class responded to the book, and it was agreed that it was a perfect example of how a picture book can be used to support wider teaching. It was suggested that Aaron Becker’s sequel, ‘Quest’ would be a perfect follow-up and lend itself to similarly creative and visual responses. You can see some of the class’s work below:
As well as feeding back about the books they’d been allocated for the term, the group also engaged in lots of interesting book-award talk (in view of the then recently announced CKG shortlists), praise of this year’s upcoming Summer Reading Challenge theme (record-breakers!), as well as a discussion about Barrington Stoke’s dyslexia friendly titles and their universal appeal to all readers. Overall, it was a great meeting and as always we were pleased to hear the responses to the chosen books. Titles for next term were distributed and the next meeting is scheduled to take place in June- be sure to pop back to hear how they went down!