Tag archives: reading for pleasure

Friday, 11 March 2016

Picture books and graphic novels at KS2&3 – some great authors, illustrators and titles

IMG_2811Picture books and graphic novels have been something of a theme for me this week. Lovely, because I’m a huge fan, and a strong believer in their importance and value with children and young people in key stage 2 and beyond. In the words of a wise 11 year-old: ‘You can never be too old for picture books.’ On Wednesday I spoke at the Babcock Schools Library Service based in Devon conference on reading for pleasure, and was followed by the Etherington brothers, who were very entertaining about how they produce their graphic novels and how they get students excited about the medium. Very interesting to hear that their books are equally popular with boys and girls, but that they like them for different reasons: girls for the characters, boys for the explosions. Then yesterday I was delighted to give a course on using graphic novels and picture books at key stages 2 and 3. The training room at Westminster Schools Library Service was jammed with great book displays. We had fabulous discussions about the role of illustrated books in terms of reading skills and reading enjoyment and in supporting learning generally. We explored dozens of titles and ways to use and promote them. I loved all the ideas for bringing reading alive and changing attitudes to reading. These authors, illustrators and titles come strongly recommended.  (There are lots more excellent suggestions here.)

Chris van Allsburg, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and other titles
David Almond, Bird, Mouth, Snake, Wolf
Jeannie Baker, Mirror
Barroux, Line of Fire
Andrea Beatty, Rosie Revere Engineer
Aaron Becker, Journey
Cece Bell, El Deafo
Raymond Briggs, Ethel and Ernest
Fanny Britt, Jane, the Fox and Me
Anthony Browne, Voices in the Park and other titles
Emily Carroll, Through the Woods
Toni S Daniel, Superman/Wonder Woman Vol.1: Power Couple      
Neil Gaiman, Coraline, Graveyard Book, Wolves in the Walls
Sarah Garland, Azzi in Between
Emily Gravett, Meerkat Mail, Rabbit Problem and other titles
Armin Greder, The Island      
Mini Grey, Hermelin the Detective Mouse and other titles
Isobel Harrop, The Isobel Journal      
Libby Hathorn, Way Home
Eric Heuvel, A Family Secret
Anthony Horowitz, all the graphic novel adaptations
Virginia Ironside, The Huge Book of Worries
Ben Morley, The Silence Seeker
Mal Peet, Mysterious Traveler
Levi Pinfold, Black Dog    
Andrew Rae, Moonhead and the Music Machine
Rick Riordan, Heroes of Olympus: Lost Hero     
Michael Rosen, Sad Book
Joe Sacco, Palestine    
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis Volume 1 and Volume 2
John Scieszka, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, The Frog Prince Continued
Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck, The Marvels
Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen, The Dark
Art Spiegelman, Complete Maus  
Shaun Tan, The Arrival and other titles
Colin Thompson, How to Love Forever, Paperbag Prince and other titles
Alvaro F. Villa, Flood
Helne Ward, Varmints
David Wiesner, Flotsam, Tuesday
Marcia Williams, Archie’s War, My Secret War Diary and other titles
G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel Vol.1: No Normal 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Great quotes about books and reading in celebration of World Book Day

IMG_2733I gave a course in Dorchester Library last week, and was delighted to see this plaque in pride of place. Today is World Book Day – the perfect time to share some brilliant quotes about books and reading. (There are lots more here.)

  • Books are, let’s face it, better than everything else. Nick Hornby
  • Books are the mirrors of the soul. Virginia Woolf
  • You’ll never be alone if you’ve got a book. Al Pacino
  • To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. W. Somerset Maugham
  • Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. Frederick Douglas
  • There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island. Walt Disney
  • Reading is a first class ticket to the outer limits of your imagination. Juno Dawson
  • Stories … are genuinely symbiotic organisms that we live with, that allow human beings to advance. Neil Gaiman
  • Reading makes the world better. Matt Haig
  • The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. St Augustine
  • What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space. Italo Calvino
  • The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one that makes you think. Harper Lee
  • I guess that’s the beauty of books. When they finish they don’t really finish. Markus Zusak
  • Books should go where they will be most appreciated, and not sit unread, gathering dust on a forgotten shelf. Christopher Paolini
  • If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book. J K Rowling
  • I read a lot of junk, but that didn’t matter – you have to dig a heap of rocks if you’re looking for gold. Terry Pratchett
  • Wear the old coat and buy the new book. Austin Phelps

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Children’s and young people’s reading: recent news and views

dog readingLots of serious news and views to come, but I couldn’t resist starting with a story about a dog that’s learnt to read.

New OECD data tells us that young people in England have lowest literacy levels in developed world. As a trainer who specialises in children’s and young people’s reading, I am always keen to explore ways to make reading more accessible, attractive and worthwhile. Digital reading surely has a big part to play.

I felt very privileged to attend this fascinating debate on children’s reading in the digital age. Well worth watching, to find out how good use of technology has the power to bridge the alarming literacy gaps in the UK.

The National Literacy Trust reported in December that e-books make a particular difference to boys’ reading. The report prompted a BBC exploration of the place of e-books in schools.

A new survey by Booktrust found that families prefer printed books and lots of parents have qualms about digital reading. Chief executive Diana Gerald points out its benefits, when used in partnership with printed books.

I would completely agree with this, and we are immensely lucky in this country to have wonderful children’s books at our disposal.

Michael Rosen is fascinating on what children learn from picture books and how.

Here’s the Canadian Paediatric Society on why it’s never too early to start reading with children.

A recent study found that toddlers could be ready to begin reading lessons at 3. Without doubt we should encourage a love of books from babyhood onwards, but let’s make sure that’s what the emphasis is about, not reading lessons. I was very interested to read parent Sally Marks lamenting the focus on phonics drilling at home. ‘Let’s leave phonics to schools and curl up with a good book instead.’

If we want to ensure children feel positively about reading, we must of course read to them, and not just when they are very young. Do check out this inspirational TED talk by teacher Rebecca Bellingham on why it matters.

I also strongly recommend a great series of vlogs by author Phil Earle for Booktrust. I so agree with him that children need to be able to choose books that give them sense of achievement.

Like many others, I have a particular concern about comprehension. Lots of teachers on courses tell me about children who are excellent at decoding, but do not understand what they are reading. In which case, what’s the point? Here’s a useful blog about how to use questioning to support comprehension.

Study after study has proved that children and young people who enjoy reading read more and are better at it. Hardly surprising! It’s instructive to read this teenager’s view that students need to enjoy the books their GCSE books.

And here’s another valuable article from the Guardian children’s book site: Children’s books: a middle class ghetto?

Finally, on a much lighter note, the results of a poll about heroes and villains in children’s literature. I’m delighted to see Pooh and Paddington among the heroes. Cruella de Vil and Mrs Coulter are definitely my favourite villains.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Children’s reading – recent news and articles

IMG_0274#I love this photo, an entry in an extreme reading challenge at Hinchley Wood Primary School.

What a lot of reading news and comment to catch up on since my last round-up!

Back in October Michael Wilshaw of Ofsted discussed progress in reading at primary level and aired concerns about the lack of support at secondary.

It’s well worth reading teacher Nancie Atwell’s piece ‘It’s time to take a hard look at how we teach reading.’

‘Reading for Pleasure: A Primary School Guide’ is also thought-provoking and useful.

Do read Teresa Cremin’s blog questioning whether the inclusion of reading for pleasure in the national curriculum is a mixed blessing.

Teachers and school librarians will find ‘Creating a Reading Culture: Get Your Whole School Reading’ from the Scottish Book Trust very helpful.

Michael Morpurgo says an obsession with ‘literacy’ is stifling writing talent.

There’s interesting information in the new Literacy Trust report, ‘Teachers and Literacy: Their Perceptions, Understanding, Confidence and Awareness’.

DfE data shows that boys trail girls in literacy when starting school.

Frank Furedi seeks to scotch the myth that boys don’t read.

New research tells us that reading e-books improves reading performance, especially among boys.

Intriguingly, we also discovered that 16-24 year-olds still prefer print to e-books.

According to another recent survey 14-17 year-olds are the least likely age group among 0-25s to read. Young people return to reading after 18.

Finally, for those who missed it, the BBC is planning a year-long campaign to get the nation reading, including a children’s books season.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

National Non-Fiction November – the value of children’s information books, some great articles and links to recent excellent titles

National Non Fiction NovemberIt’s National Non-Fiction November, a fitting opportunity to celebrate all that children’s non-fiction offers. Most importantly of all, good information books are fun. They inspire children’s curiosity and open up the world to them. They are accessible to readers of all abilities and interests. They make reading worthwhile and relevant to children who haven’t caught the reading bug through fiction. They also develop vital literacy and information skills, not least comprehension, so are perfect for delivering literacy across the curriculum.

There have been lots of useful articles recently on non-fiction for children.

2015 has been a fantastic year for children’s information books, and many are highlighted in these articles. These are useful sources for anyone keen to discover more excellent recent titles: