This week I have been all over the country:Manchester, Oxford, London and Essex. It was a real pleasure to revisit Lowercroft Primary School in Bury, where Viv Barlow and Dianne Ellithorn are doing sterling work to inspire young readers in their school. Just look at these brilliant artefacts made by the year 6 children as part of a homework project.
It's always uplifting to work with teachers who are passionate about books and reading. Sometimes the book collections in school match that enthusiasm. Sometimes, it is obvious that spending on books hasn't been a priority in recent years and there is little evidence of new authors and illustrators. Sometimes new books are limited to the most obvious choices and the range doesn't reflect the breadth and depth of books currently available. We are currently in demand helping schools reinvigorate their library collections. That's all very exciting. However, it is important that once this work is done, a plan is put in place to regularly update, refresh and maintain the collection or it will quickly stagnate and deteriorate.Read more →
I am delighted to see a surge in publishing high quality wordless picture books, a valuable addition to classroom collections for children of all ages. Far from being an ‘easy read’ many of these books provide challenging reading experiences and provoke thoughtful responses.
It’s five o’clock in the afternoon. I’m in the kitchen preparing our evening meal and my three and a half year old son has been left to amuse himself for a few minutes. He’s NOT amused and after a short while he comes into the kitchen hands on hips, ‘Mummy I am affronted,’ he says. And from the look on his face I can see that he means it. I’m taken aback, distracted from his intent by his faultless use of the word ‘affronted.’ However, this display of precocious word knowledge isn’t quite so surprising when you consider that we...Read more →
Can you recall any lines from poems that you have read, heard and enjoyed? Perhaps you remember a rhyming story that was read to you when you were very young, a poem that you heard at school, or perhaps you studied poetry at university and some immortal lines are anchored in your memory. Before you decide that you don’t know any poetry, keep in mind voiceovers from television advertisements, song lyrics, a rap, football chant, graffiti or a message in a greetings card. Rather embarrassingly, I can remember line for line the sentimental doggerel in the first Valentine card that...Read more →