Help! I need a cracking class reader…

The revised National Curriculum is coming to a school near you in 2014. The good news is that the English strand encourages more reading for pleasure but the bad news is teachers will be so bogged down teaching the ‘word’ parts, affectionately known as SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) that they might forget the pleasure bit. However, as Dr Simon Gibbons, Chair of the National Association of the Teaching of English said at a conference I attended this week: ‘English teachers will make it work, in spite of it; they always do.’   handbook                   Not the most exciting bedtime reading you’ll come across: the revised National Curriculum document KS3/4. One of the things that will be making a ‘comeback’ at KS1 and 2 is the class reader. OK, in some schools the class reader – the story the teacher reads to his or her class at a chosen moment in the day – has never disappeared so it doesn’t need to make a comeback but in many classrooms this magical experience had been cast aside in all the flipping flapdoodle of having too much to deliver in too short a time. This results in some teachers in primary schools not knowing what’s out there to choose from, especially with so many School Library Services either closing down or not being seen as a priority for investing in (don’t get me started).                               Example of a fab school library I’ve visited: Kettering Buccleuch Academy. Fab because it has a qualified librarian, Lucy Georgeson, who knows her stuff and fab because she has a management team willing to back her library financially. But what if you don’t have a school librarian, as many primary schools don’t? Choosing the right class reader for the class is harder than it sounds. Take a class of thirty Year Fours. animal iphone 7 phone cases In it there’ll be five kids who’ve read everything and five kids who’ve read nothing; boys who don’t like sloppy stuff, girls who don’t like sloppy stuff; kids with short attentions spans and kids with IQs greater than the teacher – not to mention the newly-settled kids who are still learning English. How do teachers find a story that engages all those children? My guess is that a lot of them struggle.                             How do you find a story to read out loud that suits everyone? On Twitter recently there’s been a hashtag: #myclassread. I followed it with keen interest. iphone 6 case pink hardback Initially, I was disappointed because so many of the titles were either from the same few authors, naming the same old titles, published donkeys years ago or ‘popular’ books the kids have probably already bought in the supermarket anyway. designer iphone 8 folio case I used the hashtag as an example to voice my sadness at this limited book knowledge at the conference, my point being that surely one of the things a class reader should be is something the pupils won’t have come across? However, I have been forced to eat my words and can only apologise. The books being mentioned on #myclassread recently have been everything you could hope for: naming newer authors and cracking titles that the classes are clearly enjoying. That’s more like it! The instigator of the #myclassread thread was Rob Smith, a teacher from Lancashire, who has set up the fantastic Literacy Shed website I love how interactive it is: with films and animations and its focus on stories, books and ideas. It must be brilliant being in Mr Smith’s class.   lit shed                 The Literary Shed… where adventures begin   I was going to go on to list all the other websites where teachers could find belting books but school librarian Lesley Watts has saved me the bother and put them all on one page here. How convenient! Caroline Horn’s Reading Zone is featured and that is especially good for KS1 & 2 recommendations.   I’ll blog a few of my suggestions for cracking class readers another time. light up case iphone 6 Meanwhile I’m getting ready for World Book Day.

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