Fiction Discussion Groups

Welcome to our new Fiction Discussion Group page. Here we’ll be posting recaps straight from our KS2 FDG meetings which take place once an academic term. We currently have two groups based in Norwich and Fakenham; in advance of our meetings, Teachers are given a set of KS2 fiction (and sometimes non-fiction) to read and discuss with their class. It’s a great way to discuss new and old children’s fiction and to find out whether children’s views differ from our own.

For more information or to join one of our groups, please get in touch. Any write-ups of past meetings will be kept in our Fiction Discussion Group archive here.

Spring 2017

Norwich Group Meeting: 23rd March 2017

This term our Norwich R4P group met at our Norfolk ELS base in Norwich and it was a busy one; over tea and biscuits, seven of us discussed the books given to members at the beginning of the Spring term, some of which were more popular than others…

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  • A Very Perculiar History (various editions and authors)

We began our meeting by discussing the non-fiction included this term; we’d selected this series to see if children would consider them a worthy alternative to the popular ‘Horrible Histories’ but this wasn’t the case- very few pupils were interested! Our group discussed at length how the titles weren’t accessible enough for young readers and that they weren’t very easy to dip in and out of; usually one of the most popular parts of reading of non-fiction!

  • The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey

This series was very popular with children; a quick read very accessible to young readers and perfect for a short reading session in class. Some liked the email format more than others but it was agreed that it was a nice contrast to diary-style fiction.

  • The Marsh Road Mysteries (various) by Elen Caldecott

These were quite popular in our group’s schools; the characters were considered to be incredibly relatable and those children could easily identify with. We also discussed the series’ diversity and how each story focuses on a different member of the book’s group.

  • The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

Quite a sophisticated read loved by staff and enjoyed by those pupils who tackled it; we agreed it was very much a top-end KS2 read. The strong female lead and atmospheric setting were discussed at length, particularly how immersive the story felt whilst reading and how you’re taken straight into the heart of the story.

  • Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

Though the series has recently been republished with more up-to-date and appealing covers, the children in the group’s classes weren’t interested in picking this up to read though none of the adults could really put their finger on why. Though we theorised whether the popularity of Harry Potter had overshadowed Nimmo’s series, we did agree that Charlie Bone would make for a great suggested read for those interested in fantasy and magic.

  • Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Another book for top-end KS2 readers, with a very similar feel to Philip Reeves’ ‘Mortal Engines’. The group felt the book had some interesting ideas though lacked context in places and didn’t garner any special reactions from those children who did give it a try.

Below are some reviews from children at Moorlands Primary- for some of this term’s books and those read in past terms!

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Below are some additional thoughts from Sara at Attleborough Junior, who was unable to make our meeting but has lots to say about this term’s books:

  • Cogheart

Despite the promise of the front cover, some of us did not really like this book.  We thought that it gets into the story too quickly and for some reason  some of us couldn’t get into this one.  Some bits were funny, but it just didn’t grab me enough to keep reading.  Usually I get lost in a book so this is a shame.

  • The Wolf Wilder

Not that keen on this, maybe it was not my type of story. In fact from the beginning it did not make much sense to me and was confusing.   Adventure isn’t usually my thing.  I like the mystery and scary nature of books.

  • Charlie Bone and the Blue Boa

I loved this book!  It is great fantasy that is packed full of mysteries and secrets.  Charlie, his friends and family all have mystical powers that help them to reveal the mystery of the big toe?  Who has caused such havoc?  A must-read for boys, girls, brothers, sisters, mums, dads, grannies, grandads….

  • Diamonds and Daggers

I liked the way that this book explored wider cultural issues as well as the mystery of whole stole the jewels.  I think it could be a great talking point to discuss how difference is often met with suspicion and helping children to see injustice.

  • The Dragonsitter

A fairly light-hearted read suitable for children perhaps getting to grips with reading.  I like the way that it is written as a series of emails to the Uncle leaving the reader to guess what his replies might be and speculate as to what has happened to him and the relationship between him and his mum.

  • Victorian Servants – a Very Peculiar History

This is quite a dip in book, where you can flick through and read extracts that catch your eye and get some interesting facts and personal experiences of life in Victorian times.    I like the way that the different sections are divided up in different fonts which definitely makes it more appealing.  As a teacher, this book would be good to illustrate lots of writing genres.

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