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Age , Hardback 34pp. Flashlight Ref: A book which needs to be seen and touched to be truly appreciated! Wordless, with die cut holes and a minimal, dramatic colour palette, this special book shows a child leaving their tent to explore a forest by night with just a flashlight. The black and silver landscape is interrupted by the torch's beam as it casts a full-colour light on frisky racoons, hedgehogs, bats, owls, beavers and more! Adored by the nursery group staff who visited us recently.

What a lovely book. Great way of introducing nocturnal animals. Officer, Letterbox reviewer. Age , Hardback 32pp. Some time in the future Brigg lives in a bleak, all-grey, overcast city. One day he discovers a forbidden book in the library- a book about something called "flowers" which leads him, unexpectedly to something called "seeds" in a junk shop A lovely, modern day, environmental fable.

Set in Brazil, this stunningly illustrated story about a child's ambition to be a great footballer is also a beautifully non-didactic and thoughtful story about poverty, child labour and a challenge to gender stereotypes. We adored it. Teddy and Ruby set out on a fantastic flying adventure! Shows girls and boys equally at home in their hardhats and diggers. Picture This Winner Fantastic disability portrayal. Bessie-Belle offers to grant Freddie's every wish. But he mumbles and she can't hear terribly well In a village high up in the Andes, Aldomaro relies on his radio for knowledge. Published with ActionAid, this child-friendly narrative explores how batteries are sometimes a precious commodity and learning a real aspiration.

Age Paperback 31pp. Bright illustrations in pink, blue and yellow hues introduce us to the Hindu god, Ganesha, as a child, a child just like any other child, expect for an elephant's head and an unusual method of getting around- cruising on a magic mouse. Follow the pair as they go about collecting sweets until they stumble across an extra hard, jaw breaking, laddoo which snaps off Ganesha's tusk which he then accidentally hurls at an elderly man who turns out to be the poet Vyasa who then persuades Ganesha to be a scribe for his very very very long poem An eminently child-friendly, comic, account of how Ganesha came to write the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata.

Comes with a helpful author note. Illustrated by a Pixar Animation Studios artist. Together WeAreTheGirls". Meet Sasha, Lottie, Alice and Leela- held together through a friendship so unbreakable it frees them to explore their separate lives. A unique picture book which shows the close friendship between four children and then the maturing of this relationship into adulthood. As the four stride out into new experiences, work, adventures, loves and independent lives, they remain held together through unassailable roots of support and kindness.

A tribute to the transformative healing powers of friendship and how true intimacy between friends can be a balm for life. With words and illustrations full of heart and teaming with affirmation, children will love joining the characters on their journey and will feel buoyed by the subtle, but ever-present, message to be who they want to be. This title also performs 'casual inclusion' at it best- a multicultural group of friends, the illustrations also show Sasha, a young black woman, setting up home with a female partner and mid-way, there is a gorgeous image of the girls leading a Pride parade which bursts with rainbow flags and multicoloured heart balloons.

It's beautifully told-friendships endures through a lifetime.. Girls can fly planes or dive under the sea. Yes, girls can be anything they want to be". A simple and effective empowerment book aimed at getting girls to aim as high as they'd like to! A bouncy rhyme drives the optimism of the text forward as we see girls in all of their diversity as they take up all sorts of jobs and activities from protecting tigers to solving crimes to digging up roads.

The energy pours out on to the start and end pages with double page spreads of girls rock climbing and, later, mini bios and pictures of 15 notable women, including UK's first female firefighter, the first person with Down Syndrome to swim the English Channel, the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Nicola Adams and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Wonderful to have these messages pitched to the very young. The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head Ref: Isabel's best friend, Simon, moves away very suddenly leaving her feeling angry and then lonely.

Having decided to enjoy her isolation, she shuns company, excepting But then Chester moves in next door and convinces her that it might be a time for a new playmate. A charmingly off-the-wall picture book which captures the zaniness of children's playtime and the worlds they create together. The narrative moves along through Isabel's changing emotions which are themselves carried by a familiar passage of the seasons from Autumn- marking Simon's departure- to Spring- announcing Chester's arrival.

For more confident readers there are some real depths of emotions to explore here with Isabel literally externalising her feelings through a complex system of boxes and storage. Very tactile paper and a great palette. Brilliant, humorous, quirky- immense! Green is the Quran I read with pride. Grandma explains the lessons inside". From silver fanoos to golden domes, a young Muslim girl introduces readers to her faith, including Ramadan and Eid, through the medium of rhyme and colours.

An original approach, very beautifully illustrated with a useful glossary. By a Muslim author and an illustrator inspired by elements of Islamic art. Informative and engaging with attractive illustrations. A charming sequel to 'Amazing Grace'. When Grace is invited to Gambia she is worried about how to manage two families, but she learns that families are what you make of them. Age , 32pp Paperback. Grandma Ref: Oscar loves spending time with his Grandma but lately she has been getting forgetful and soon she has to go into a care home. A child-friendly exploration of what dementia is.

Includes factual information to help children talk about their feelings and find new ways to enjoy the changing relationship. Ages , Paperback 28pp. A Caribbean treat. When Michael goes to visit cousin Shayla in Trinidad, he insists his home town, London, is far bigger and better. Shayla thinks that's nonsense. Contest on! Age , Paperback 69pp. Well, grandparents inducting children on their vegetable plots seems to be a recurring theme! Here, Billy is by his grandpa's side throughout the growing season.

Teaches everything anyone would need to know to get started on their own allotment. Fantastically detailed backnotes furnish stacks of additional veg-growing information. Ages , Paperback 38pp. Early science knowledge with muscle and heart. Another hefty slice of non-fiction joy from Hoffman and Asquith. This time, it's all about our bodies. This is a celebration of everybody and every body: the characteristics we share, the things which make us different; what makes up a body; where our biggest muscle is bottoms!

There is even due reference to people who do not feel comfortable with the labels 'boy' and 'girl'. Inclusive and diverse as always, Asquith sets about putting everyone into the picture- including a wider range of disabled characters. Age , Paperback 33p. A glorious, multicultural celebration of contemporary family life. All wrapped up in delightful illustrations and great dollops of humour! Selected by Booktrust as a Best Book of The second in the series of these most joyful and inclusive books! Explore lots of different feelings with the children in this book, see if you can find feelings that match your own, or that help you understand how other people are feeling.

Feelings explored with the same warmth, wit and sensitivity as in the award-winning 'The Great Big Book of Families'. But Stella aims to do just that. Armed with fishing gear and differing baits, she sets out every day to realize her dream, whatever the weather. But what will she do if she succeeds? Courtney Dicmas's latest book features a spirited character determined to achieve her goal, but it also reflects our responsibilities to other creatures, and our place in the natural world. Relatives too welcoming, weather too hot. Nothing is the same. A very recognisable, grumpy child has his day lifted, finally, by a kind and patient friend and a calm reassuring childminder.

A straightforward and gently humorous book which includes some great back cover tips for getting children to articulate their moods. Age , Hardback, 18pp. The wicked King has sent Guru Hargobind and fifty-two princes to prison. After a bad dream, he decides to let the Guru go - but not the others! A cruel king is thoroughly outwitted in this lively Sikh folk tale from a bestselling author. Just from time to time. For example, she thinks her dino costume is everyday wear- but, then again, why not?

Nikki Bella reads a poem: Total Divas, Nov. 14, 2018

But then, one day, in preparation for her very own dress-up birthday party, she goes with her dads to a big store dressed in her "extra-special errand-running costume": a penguin outfit complete with a smart red bow tie. And that is when she perhaps gets very carried away as she waddles off into a wild adventure starring penguins, hot air balloons, icebergs and is eventually rescued by an orca and a flock of pigeons.

Luckily her dads are still shopping for party food when she lands back down safely in the supermarket Fabulous retro, purple and orange-toned, illustrations, a contemporary urban setting and a thoroughly casual representation of a mixed race family headed by two dads. The final rooftop scene of Harriet's party in which the children and adults help themselves to costumes out of the dress up box is a flamboyant double page splash celebrating individuality. A comic narrative, full of charisma. Imaginative story and lovely illustrations.

Very inclusive without being self-conscious' Kerry, LL staff and reviewer. Age Hardback 38pp. A new edition of a classic. Brought bang up to date by Walker Books through a new illustrator, the publisher has also created an Anglicised edition no more 'mommies'! This new edition has beautifully vibrant, yet softly fuzzy illustrations which make each spread somehow Follow Heather as she goes about the tricky business of starting school and the less tricky business of nap time, circle time and everyone-draw-a-picture-of-their-family time.

Everything about this book is simply delightful. Includes a 'secondary' representation of gay dads and there are also some subtle, lovely little gender touches along the way too Heather's firefighter costume, Mama Jane's carpentry, the gender-neutral play at school etc. Definite must-have! A quirky treat. Every one of Madame Chapeau's customers is different, so each receives a unique, bespoke hat.

But while she gives so much of herself, Madame has a lonely life. And then, one night, she loses her precious birthday bonnet. A line of men queue up to offer her their hats but none will do Like every great story book, this one lends itself to multiple interpretations. It's a story about loss and self- isolation, but it also ends up as a story about friendship, belonging and finding your own uniqueness.

The illustrations are wonderful- a particular delight is that each hat mirrors and reveals the personality of its owner. The text lilts along with bouncing rhymes and it savours funny nonsense words- "Chez Snooty-Patoot" "Rue Tippytap". This illustrator excels in effortless inclusion- the characters are multicultural; the real star is a small, Black child with natural hair ; some of the couple scenes suggest same-sex partners in amongst the mix and indeed one of the story's joyful messages is that love and companionship takes many forms.

I would have bought this for my child- I had to read it to my nearly year-old daughter anyway. Wonderful inclusion! A gorgeously inclusive book which gets giddy about skin! A rich text marvels at how skin keeps "your insides in", at how clever it is at growing, at healing and how it responds to the outside environment. Most of all, it celebrates the diversity of our skin and the importance of feeling happy in your skin. What's not to like?

Portrayals of different ethnicities, faiths and disabilities as well as diverse family structures. Happy to be Me Ref: "Thank you mouth, you smile and giggle. Thank you toes, you're great to wiggle". Follow a small and ethnically diverse group of children joyfully exploring their senses as they take part in a host of activities including playing dress up, cuddling lambs on a farm visit building a robot, toasting marshmallows over a camp fire.

The merry band includes a wheelchair user, a child with a hearing aid and a child wearing thick-lensed glasses. Much as this is, quite simply, a very cheerful book about celebrating the senses, the disability depictions seem especially thoughtful and empowering. For e. Simple, bold and colourful illustrations. Lovely early years book' June, Parent, LL reviewer.

One in a series showing children of all abilities enjoying a day out. Colourful and sunny illustrations. Age , Paperback 12pp. Have Fun Anna Hibiscus! A hugely loveable protagonist. Anna leaves 'Amazing Africa' to visit her Canadian Granny, make new friends and discover snow! Includes a clever age-appropriate exploration of prejudice. Have You Seen Elephant? Ref: A very large, very fun-spirited elephant challenges a small child to a game of hide and seek.

And, despite the elephant's quite terrible disguises- on full show with just its head in a lampshade, delicately clutching a skinny tree trunk in front of it- the child simply fails to spot it. Which leads, inevitably, to a tortoise challenging the same child to a game of Tag A book which really understands the art of being a picture book with the barest of texts, decorative gatefolds and warm, smudgy illustrations in a gorgeous fuzzy summer palette, stuffed with character and great humour. A picture book lover's dream. Children will love it.

Commissioning Officer, LL reviewer. But will she know how to get it back? The depths of love and loss are treated with an extraordinary lightness of touch. Age 5-adult, Paperback 31pp. Hello Hello Ref: A striking environmental tale which is also a jubilant celebration of difference. A range of black and white and then gorgeously garishly-coloured and then stripy and then spotted creatures make their way across glossy double page spreads, mirroring and taking on each other's characteristics and, always, greeting each other with a friendly "hello!

A beautifully executed picture book with rhyming text and ninety-two yes, 92! Semi-cartoon-like, collage illustrations. Take the time to compare the silhouetted front end with the coloured-in back end pages. Really different. Really thought provoking. Really good! Age , Hardback 38pp. Alfie Tate is hamster monitor, a responsibility he takes very seriously as he sets out to find the four new teeny hamsters homes to go to. Alfie says that he was adopted when he was three so he knows all about what it is like to start over in a new home. A funny and touching narrative in which we see Alfie share his life story book with the class and in which we meet his wider adoptive family- a family which grows further as, much to Alfie's delight, Mum decided to adopt the saddest and loneliest hamster of them all Another spot-on, sensitive, gently humorous book for children from the Copper Tree series.

A great story about adoption without it being an 'issues' book. Every setting should have this book' Rosalind, Workforce Dev. Nurturing and loving class. The adoption story delicately but realistically explained. We first glimpsed this as a U. We didn't have to wait too long.

A wordless picture book shows a child and his family migrating to a new, unspecified country. Stunning artwork takes us all on a journey from a confusing unfamiliar landscape to somewhere which is starting to feel a lot like home. Perfect visual literacy for children' whose first language isn't English- and for reluctant readers. Written by a Korean immigrant to the USA.

Age , Paperback 39pp. Home and Dry Ref: The Paddling family live on an island, making their living by fishing and teaching swimming- and serviced by the local ferry people who bring them their mail and food. But every summer, when the water dries up, the ferry people have to stop their visits and the Paddlings have to go elsewhere for a good paddle!

An unusual story book with lots of scope to explore island living, weather patterns and their impact on the environment. A curiously life-affirming tale with some extra nice touches in the illustrationsL: a very heavily pregnant Mrs Paddling fishing in balloon trousers, Mr Paddle's chequered one piece swimsuit, the enormous plate of fish and chips in the final pages! A very quirky family. Somehow a real feeling of warmth and affection' Jayne, Primary Inclusion Manager, Letterbox reviewer.

Beautiful illustrations, interesting story and no gender stereotypes- hooray! Home In The Rain Ref: Francie and her very pregnant mum says bye bye to Grandma and settle into their little red motor for the journey home in the rain. And it rains. And rains. The windscreen wipers go Shoo-shoo-shoo! On the hillside above, a baby rabbit dives for cover. In the canal below, water runs off the ducks' backs.

Classic Bob Graham- where small moments are connected to moments elsewhere and then build up to a final small moment which means something momentous to the players in the story. Here, under relentless pouring-down skies, Francie and her mum name the baby to be. Set in Sussex, specifically in the A Road traffic jams!

Amazing colours. Hope is an Open Heart Ref: A wonderful photographic tribute to the resilience of hope, inspired by the devastation caused by natural disasters and conflicts. Age , American Import Paperback 32pp. Best friends: 1 girl mouse and 2 boy mice. Must they really join the boys-only and girls-only clubs?

A fun and spirited tribute to friendship and inclusion. Age , American Import Paperback 29pp. How Are You Feeling Today? A great resource. The contents page immediately gets you to identity how you are feeling -worried, grumpy, bored, quiet? From here, readers will find a mini-description of the emotion concerned and child-friendly strategies for coping such as curling up into a ball, having a tickle fight, huffing and puffing and rolling your eyes till you laugh!

Comes with an emotional literacy guide for carers and a 'Feelings Tracker'. Age , Hardback 29pp. Shortlists Nobody saw the pigeon fall to the ground. Except a kind and gentle little boy. Sparse text and fantastically eloquent illustrations. How to Find Gold Ref: A small child and her crocodile friend think up gold-finding strategies, draw a map, elaborate with complicated sketches encompassing ship-sinking and underwater monsters- and then A few page spreads of wordless underwater magic later, a great, tumbling, treasure trove of gold is discovered.

The adventurers carefully mark the spot on a new, very good, map and then leave the gold well alone. The end. Zany, fantastically strange and with a fresh, direct, dialogue which perfectly captures exactly how children would speak to their imaginary crocodiles. But a word of caution from our youngest, 8-year-old reviewer, Vuso, who complained: 'I did not like the book because it doesn't teach you to find gold. His poems are also very good! From the HamStar who fits in a jam jar to our personal favourite- the Guillemot who uses his bill a lot- children will get tickled all over by these silly verses.

Age 6 to adult, Hardback 60pp. He had a thought and he heard it. From award-winning picture book makers Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz comes an enlightening new story about courage and making a difference. For budding philosophers of all ages, this is the uplifting story of Henry Finch the loveable little bird who strives for greatness. An adventure-fuelled girl and boy conjure up fantastic worlds, picturing themselves as dragons, astronauts and more A magical rhyming celebration of make-believe, soaring imaginations and- being yourself.

Includes mask-making tips! If All the World Were A gentle exploration of bereavement through lilting, poetic text and joyful, sweeping brushstrokes of oranges, pinks, reds and yellows. A child takes her granddad's giant hand and journeys through the seasons with him exploring the first signs of spring, discovering the astrological properties of a racing track!

When her beloved grandpa dies, she collects scattered memories from his room and then starts to write them down in the notebook he left for her, made of spring-petal paper and Indian string. A very moving story- the sadness made somehow bearable by the exquisite relationship between child and grandparents and the narrative faith in memories which gradually heal like balm.

From ranking number one in women's tennis to winning three Gland Slams in the same year to winning the infamous Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being one of the first openly lesbian sports figures , BJK has been an inspiration at every turn in her life. A thoroughly principled advocate for justice and equality, BJK decided from a young age that the easiest way for her to lobby for fairness would be to first become the best in her game of tennis.

This brilliantly accessible and fun biography speeds through her life from a little girl playing basket ball to the present day. Part of a bestselling well-researched New York Times biography series- and, finally, biographies of famous LGBT role models are honest about their subjects' sexuality.

It gives a clear, measured account of a remarkable woman who was not only at the top of her profession as a tennis player but who also took the time and energy to change the status quo- and make men and women athletes be treated equally' Eileen, Former Primary Teacher, LL reviewer.

Age American Import Hardback 38pp. I Am Kind Ref: Sharing with friends, cheering them up and learning to say sorry: just some of the many ways this happy, bright, photographic book promotes being kind. Helpful back notes. I'm juts an ordinary person. But I'm also proof that there's no such thing as an ordinary person". This cartoon format is perfect for introducing the Rosa Parks story to a very young audience.

A lovely informal colloquial style from Rosa Park's point of view shows her early life, her budding as a young activist and then, finally, her political courage as she refuses to move from a 'white seat' in a public bus. Age , American Import Hardback 38pp. Ice in the Jungle Ref: When Ice's mum tells her they will have to move because she has an exciting new job in an exciting new country, Ice isn't so sure The journey is long, the new country is far too hot, the new school is full of creatures who don't look like her and don't understand her- and they prefer bananas to fish!

Too weird! Could a 'North Pole Party' be just the welcome that Ice needs? A very clever, deceptively simple, picture book which introduces themes of transition and migration while ever so gently subverting a few assumptions about new arrivals! Age Paperback 27pp. Lyrical text and gorgeous photographs rejoice in the world's people, climates, colours and seasons. A true celebration of the beauty of our world. Age , American Import Paperback 30pp.

Immi Ref: An astonishing illustrator turns her hand to writing and long may she do so! A simply stunning story about hope, giving and wonder seen through the eyes of a little Inuit girl. An unusual feelings book exploring a wide range of body feelings including feeling poorly, dizzy, sick, thirsty and tired.

A clear, fresh format with one feeling explored with each double page spread, speech bubbles, highlighted key words, back notes, extension exercises- and the excellent, novel addition of a small insert picture with the sign language BSL for each feeling! Insults Aren't Funny by Amanda F. Doering illustrated by Simone Shin. Francis calls Charlie mean names on the football pitch- which make him feel sick and very sad until, finally, it makes him want to give up football altogether. But a chat with his friend and then his football coach means the bullying is tackled early on.

A useful, positive book about verbal bullying. The story is accompanied by little factual notes running along the bottom of the pages; there is also a teacher note and a glossary. Is It A Mermaid? Two children on the beach spot a Dugong -or, rather, a Sea Cow- popping its large grey snout out of the sea. But this Dugong insists she is a she, not an it. And, she declares, with both flippers on her hips, she is a gorgeous mermaid, not a Dugong. Bel is happy to go along with the Dugong's self-identity as she trills and bounces in a mermaid-ish way.

But Benji is very unsure about it all, protesting, "You are a Dugong!!! Fresh, charming, playful and utterly delightful. Luminescent blues and greens show the sweeps of the ocean interrupted by bright flashes of iridescent sea life down below. As day turns to night, the pages become soaked in rusty orange and then inky purples. The text skips along lightly, perfectly capturing children's clear and animated dialogue. And the humour is completely infectious.

Who knew that a YA author could jump so effortlessly into such a young age range- more, please, Candy! Nice little backnote on the endangered Dugong. Yes, Dugongs are real]. Age , Hardback 24pp. Isaac and his Amazing Asperger Superpowers! Ref: Isaac is a superhero. He has the outfit, complete with booties and cape. And, he has superhero powers including a brain stuffed with encyclopaedic facts, an overdose of energy which requires bouncing and fidgeting and ears which hear a little too well.

Isaac knows that not everyone always understands his superpowers so here he is to explain Asperger's which, as he helpfully elaborates, rhymes with hamburgers. Depicting disabled people as having superpowers is not without controversy. However, authentic quality titles portraying people with Asperger's are rare and this is such a positive portrayal, so It Must Have Been You! With each new act of mischief, a family member- sister, mum, grandpa- comes in to point the finger, whilst she puts on her most innocent, puppy-eyed face.

How very true to life! Attractive contemporary illustrations with mixed up fonts and a typeface which falls, tumbles, whirls and spins across the pages, extending the story's playfulness. Finished off with some fantastic end pages full of child art by two 6-year-olds! Depicts a busy, joyful and loving Muslim family. It's Raining! It's Pouring! We're Exploring! Bad weather means indoor play with home made props, dollops of spontaneity and plenty of imagination. Rhyming text and a wonderful 'casual' portrayal of a girl with asthma. A sensitive but straightforward portrayal of alcoholism from a child's perspective.

Age , American Import 35pp Paperback. Chang-ming is selected for the football team. But Mum and Dad say they're all off to visit Grandma in China! Age , Irish Import Hardback 29pp. Jake at Gymnastics Ref: Jake loves gym class- there are splits to be done, frog hops to try out, beams to balance on, bouncy balls to bounce on, tumbles to roll and A very spirited group of cherubic-looking children demonstrate toddler-friendly exercises with 2 instructors on hand to ensure all safety requirements are met!

Isadora is a much loved Caldecott Honor winner in the US; we only wish she was better known here. Her always diverse illustrations are simply stunning. Age , American Import Hardback 29pp. Jack's Worry Ref: Jack adores his trumpet but, as concert day looms, he develops a Worry, a great big grey splodge of a worry which sits on the end of his bed from the moment he wakes up and then trails him around for the rest of the day, getting ever larger and ever splodgier. Might talking to Mum shrink the Worry back down? A simple but effective tale about articulating your fears.

Jamie Ref: Jamie is super at fixing things, something her two older, meaner brothers are happy to exploit. And while they have their own personal fairy godmother to see to their every whim, Jamie is all alone When the local princess invites everyone to the Royal Ball, the brothers are quite clear that Jamie has no business going. But Jamie knows how to convert a pumpkin When she completes her disguise with a short, trendy haircut, Jamie looks in a mirror and suddenly feels Jamie has become Jamie and he's finally at one with himself. Off to the ball! A very, very clever, smart and thoughtful book with a positive transgender protagonist which is pitched perfectly to young readers.

I like the way the gradual revealing of Jamie's identity is embedded in the main narrative, the subtle shift form 'she' to 'he'. It's very clear All Letterbox Library reviewers. The Jar of Happiness Ref: A lovely feelings book in which a child invents a happiness which tastes of sunshine and smells of warm biscuits; she puts it all in a jar and carries it everywhere, sharing it with people along the way. But then one day her jar is no longer there Gentle illustrations and a story of kindness and a girl as a budding scientific inventor of happiness! Prince Veera and his best friend, Suku, are back, holding court in the palace courtyard, eager to settle the local community's disagreements with sprinkles of wisdoms and a pinch of justice!

A jar of tender mango pickles, counting crows and tickly noses are just some of the tricky issues up for debate. Trickster tales based on traditional Indian folk tales. Part of Walker's Racing Reads series. Age , Paperback 88pp. Journey Ref: A bored child in a sepia world, picks up her red crayon, draws a door and takes herself out to a forest world of Chinese lanterns and fairy lights to a kingdom of turrets and golden domes to strange flying machines in a deep blue sky to a re-entry into her world and A rich, yet entirely wordless, narrative; a song to imaginative play, outdoor adventures, intrepid girls, friendships and extraordinary journeys.

It was a lovely occasions, with the church full of family, friends and parishioners. The whole class celebrated with a tea party on Monday. We were extremely proud to hear that our very own Evie Shepherdson won. The unit has two brand new ambulances specifically designed to look after and transport seriously ill children. We saw Evie's winning picture up on the wall, met the Lord Mayor and saw two Tyne Tees presenters cut the ribbon to officially open the station.

The children were so well behaved and were an absolute credit to our school. However, it is a fantastic achievement in our first full season. Well done to all of our players for their enthusiasm and great attitude in their games this season. We celebrated Holy Week together in a series of liturgies telling the story of Jesus' journey from his triumphant entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday right through to the Resurrection.

We held our annual Easter Egg Competition during the last week of term. As ever, the judges had an almost impossible task as each and every entry deserved great credit for the amount of thought, time and skill that had gone into the wonderful creations. Once again, our entry in the annual Gateshead Dance Festival was nothing short of spectacular. Reception Class even managed to squeeze in a quick dance as they came to the hall to see where the music was coming from! Chris wowed some of our Year 5 and 6 pupils by playing any tune they requested by ear on his fiddle! It was eventually won by St Aidan's.

Visit of poet Paul Cookson. This must be one of the highlights of the school year. Paul Cookson visited us on a three-day tour in the North east. He also held a workshop with Key Stage Two, when they wrote some poems together. He also visited our library and gave us a set of his books for all to enjoy. We joined with choirs from seven other schools to sing a set of songs all based on the theme of the environment.

Some of the music was very tricky, including singing in three-part harmony. The Mayor was also there to hear us. Our singing sounded brilliant and we all really enjoyed the day. St Agnes is through to the second round of the Bishop Cunningham Cup. Thanks to the Albion for hosting us so generously and to Carl Magnay, who plays for Hartlepool United, who gave up his time to referee the matches.

Well done to our magnificent players and to manager Mr Ferguson. Who needs Pep Guardiola? We all walked to church for Mass.

Enterprise Week-Year 5 making and preparing to sell our chocolate treats!🍫😃🍫😃

Father James told us about St Agnes and how she is an inspiration for young people. He then blessed our new icon, which has been specially written by Mr Ferguson's mum. Our new icon will live in our school chapel. In the first month of the Year of Mercy, we are thinking about those who need help in our prayers.

We celebrated Christmas in a number of different ways, including our parties, Christmas Jumper Day and Christmas Lunch. We told the story of the first Christmas in readings and music. The church was packed! Reception Class presented us with their wonderful Nativity Play, Whoops-a-daisy Angel in front a packed hall of very proud family and friends. They were all stars! They celebrated by enjoying lunch together at Michaelangelo's. They finished off with a dance, in good old St Agnes' style! In December, Years worked together in a wonderful production of Oliver. This Autumn, we collected food, blankets and toiletries for the friends of The People's Kitchen in Newcastle.

The response was amazing! In December, four boys from Year 6 went with Mr Laidler in the minibus to deliver our donations to the warehouse. The volunteers showed us around and explained where the food came from. We were amazed just at the number of cans of baked beans! In January, a volunteer, Mr Tom Baker, came to speak to us at our assembly. He thanked us for our donations and told us about the work of The People's Kitchen and how it helps give food and friendship to people in Newcastle. Children in Need and Operation Christmas Child.

On 13th November, we supported Children in Need by having a non-uniform day. There were several Pudsey Bears that came to school for the day! In assembly, we thought about the different charities that are supported by Children in Need and how it fit in with our Statement of the Week, which was all about standing up for others. Two days later, all of our shoeboxes were collected by volunteers for The Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. Thanks to all who contributed to these appeals. The day began with an opening ceremony. Reception Class had made special flags which they paraded around the hall.

Throughout the day, each class completed a variety of activities, earning points for our school houses. At the end of the day, we held a closing ceremony where the results were announced. St Cuthbert's were awarded two rosettes and St Aidan's one. It was a great day where everyone competed hard and had a lot of fun. Our Sports Leaders did a fantastic job! Hitting the high notes at St Mary's Cathedral.

A choir, consisting of Years 4 and 5 and some Year 3, travelled to the magnificent cathedral in Newcastle. We were amazed at the beautiful church, especially the fantastic stained glass windows. Mr Laidler conducted us to keep us all together. Francesca, Martha, Sophie and Niamh also sang solos in the psalm. After our rehearsal, we had a break and were given a drink and biscuit. Many people told us how well we had done and we were given a round of applause at the end of Mass. Mr Laidler was very proud of us. It was quite remarkable; beautiful, simple October was a very busy month for sporting events at St Agnes'.

A fantastic achievement! Every class in school was also treated to a special tennis coaching session from Ian from Blaydon Tennis Club. Sofia is now preparing for the World competition next year. Once again, the response you our Coffee and Cake Day was amazing! A huge thank you to all who supported our fundraiser in any way. As usual, the array of cakes, buns etc.

It was a real hit with the children and some adults and made a lot of money for our total. Well done everyone! At the end of term, we said goodbye and thank you to our wonderful Year 6 pupils who are moving on to pastures new. We wish them all the very best in their new ventures and thank them for all they have contributed here at St Agnes'. There were over 30 medals awarded, which is a great improvement on last year. Their reward was lunch at Michaelangelo's. It ended up being quite a party! On Monday 13th July, we staged an open-air concert in the school grounds. Feedback from the audience was fantastic!

A visit from the Mayor and Mayoress of Gateshead. Geddes visited school. They arrived at in time for our school assembly. At assembly, we celebrated all of this year's Healthy Schools work. Harrison, Amelia Charlotte and Benedict spoke to the school about everything that we had done to improve lunchtimes and make them more active.

We then announced the winning entry for our competition to design a logo for our dining room. After assembly, our visitors officially opened our library which has just been refurbished. Our librarians gave them a guided tour and explained all about Accelerated Reader. They then went outside to watch the school using our new, improved playground facilities. We all had extra play to celebrate!

Sports Day was a very successful event for the whole school, blessed by warm weather and good spirits. Many parents have fed back that they liked the format, especially infant and junior races runseparately—it certainly made each set of races more competitive. This year, the children competed in house groups.

Thanks to all who were able to come along to support the children—your presence was greatly appreciated. Thanks also to our wonderful Year 6 coaches who guided and encouraged our infant teams so enthusiastically and to Miss Pinnella for her organisation of the whole event. It was a wonderful occasion. The children have been preparing for this great event since last Autumn and have shown great commitment and maturity throughout the course.

The children of Year 5 in each of the schools had learned set poems off by heart and performed them within the classroom. The standard was extremely high and there were some very polished performances of the set poem and a poem of their own choice, especially from both of our pupils. However, at the end of the competition, the judges announced that due to his polished, theatrical and confident performance, their unanimous choice for the winner was Benedict. Congratulations to Benedict. During the first week back after the Easter Holidays, we enjoyed fun in the sun, playing in our new, improved playground.

The climax of the week was on Holy Thursday when we gathered together three times during the day to mark the events of the Triduum, the most important three days of the church's year, from the Last Supper, through to Jesus' Resurrection on Easter Day. They were very powerful liturgies.

Some parents and members of the parish joined us. Our annual Easter egg competition was up to the usual high standard. There were some wonderfully imaginative ideas and some brilliant art and craft skills on display. Miss Young jetted in especially from Dubai to take on the difficult job of judging the entries.

After many weeks of waiting, our two minibuses have arrived. Our school councillors took a ride in one of them. It was a new and exciting experience to be the first St Agnes' pupils to put the bus through its paces. During lunchtime, we boarded the bus and ventured to Blaydon. Reading the story The story is divided into four parts and consists of four voices.

At the end of this section ask the children to discuss with a talk partner what they have learnt about the character. It is important for the children to cite evidence from the text, the pictures, the font. Issues of stereotyping can be explored in relation to class, gender and language. Why might that be? Improvisation Ask the children to work in pairs to improvise a scene on a park bench between two of the characters.

The children need to consider how they will respond depending on which character they are talking to. This can lead on to discussion about how we act differently with different people. An extension of this is for one pair to meet up with another pair so that all four characters interact. Hot-seating In fours one child takes on the role of a character and the others ask questions about their life.

Thought tracking Children act out a scene in the park taking on the role of one of the characters. At a signal from the teacher, the character says whatever they are thinking at that precise moment. They can speak their thoughts aloud if they wish when signalled to do so. The Stinky Cheeseman is a collection of alternative tales in which both author and illustrator subvert not only the tales themselves but the conventional layout of a book.

The suggested activities listed below may be carried out with the whole class or with a group and the strategies may be used with most genres. Again it is not intended that you use all the strategies with one text but that you choose those that are appropriate to the text that you are using. The strategies that I describe are: prediction, analysing the text, changing the text, questioning, sequencing, deletion or cloze procedure and visual representation of the text. Playing with the form Explore The Stinky Cheeseman through whole-class introduction to the text.

How many stories are there? How does the author break the rules? Who is the narrator? This can lead on to an interesting and sophisticated discussion on authorial voice and who the author empathises with. Prediction When we encourage children to predict what is going to happen next, we are asking them to be active rather than passive listeners. Discuss the genre. What type of narrative is suggested by the opening? How do you know? Encourage the children to refer to the text.

How does the traditional version end? Remind the children that this author is subverting the text. Think how the author might end the story. Ask children in pairs to consider both content and style and to write their own subversive ending.


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Analysing the text Text marking is an important strategy to encourage close reading of a text. The following activity helps children to practise their higher-order reading skills with the support of a partner. The ensuing discussions bring out the social aspect of reading. Ask the children in pairs to mark the text highlighting with different colour pens the similarities and differences in order to draw out common features.

Alternatively the texts can be put on to a split screen on the computer or interactive whiteboard and children can use the highlighter tool. Changing the text With the children make a list of other traditional tales that they know. What experience do the children have of other different versions of a story? Who is the audience for the tale? As a teacher you may wish to support a group version of a tale, using the interactive whiteboard or a computer. This can be kept in the reading area or the school library. Mix-and-match stories Read Cinderumpelstiltskin. Each pair takes a character and explores the background of the character and considers why they acted in a particular way.

Questioning The little red hen appears throughout the text, popping up in the most unlikely places. How does the little red hen feel? Reading between the lines is important if children are to fully understand the complex, challenging texts they encounter. The answers to some questions may not reside in the text and may be answered differently by different readers.

Other questions may await answers from the characters themselves. Sequencing Children in the Foundation Stage and KS1 are encouraged to sequence stories orally, through pictures and in writing to demonstrate their understanding of the stories they hear or read.


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At KS2, the narrative structure of texts may be complex and children need to see how an author uses different devices such as time or stories within stories. Using the interactive whiteboard, if available, or a computer, work with the class to map the structure of the whole book, The Stinky Cheeseman, noting how it differs from their expectations.

Ask children in groups to map one of the stories contained within the book, noting examples of references to other texts. Which images do they select and how do they sequence them? Cloze procedure Cloze procedure, where selected words are omitted from the text, is a useful strategy to encourage children to read for meaning, using semantic and syntactic cues. Texts and deletions should be differentiated according to learning objectives and the ability level of the group.

Children should read through the whole text before selecting words to insert. Hand out The Other Frog Prince as a cloze passage. Ask the children to work in pairs to provide a creative interpretation of the text. Once upon a lily pad there was a frog. One day when he was sun bathing on his lily pad, he saw a beautiful princess break dancing by the pond.

He hopped in the water, swam over to her, and poked his head out of the junk food litter. Further information on the value of presenting information in different formats is included in Chapter 6. Ask children to design a book jacket, including cover pictures and blurb for The Stinky Cheeseman. Children can adapt these activities to clarify meaning when composing their own stories for an audience.

At the time of writing, Shrek 2 had just come out in the cinema and many of the children had the video or DVD of the original. Through song, language and image it draws on other texts and genres both implicitly and explicitly. Popular conventions and established narrative structures are interwoven throughout without any particular discourse being privileged.

It can be appreciated on a range of levels and thus appeals to children and adults of all ages. Probe on the font, the language etc. How many characters do the children recognise from other stories? Children to write words to describe external and internal characteristics, e. Look for evidence. List under Speech and Actions.

What do the children notice about the way the characters speak, for example, accent, register, code switching, dialect? They might also wish to consider gestures, facial expression and body language. What advantages and disadvantages does animation provide? Children to provide phrases to describe characters, perhaps to accompany paintings or still images.

They could be in speech bubbles link to punctuation. How would they speak, act, react? What features of language would a council representative use? They can act it out for another pair or some pairs can show their version to the class in a plenary. Example: Sing a song of sixpence A pocket full of rye. Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie?

When the pie was open the birds began to sing. An extension to this activity would be to ask children to provide two different versions. This an opportunity to show how we convey meaning in spoken language and how punctuation is used to convey meaning in written texts. Children to act out a Blind Date-type programme in studio with audience and cue cards — for example, Applause.

Subject matter, form, actors? What makes you choose a computer game? Graphics, level of skill, subject matter? How are the reviews similar or distinct from book reviews? What makes you choose a book? Author, subject matter, etc.? If using the computer they might wish to consider the font and size of type. Children can compare this with Disney versions of fairytales — language and illustrations. Write a tabloid account of one part of the story, using a desk-top publishing package if available.

It switches between the oldfashioned and the popular. Write an episode of the story in the style of EastEnders. Children could use still-image or clip art to produce a poster. There are many ideas that we as teachers can adapt from commercially produced material. For example, interviews are similar to hot-seating and might develop into another drama technique such as conscience alley, where the character has to weigh up the consequences of an intended action and make a decision. More recently The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has come out in the cinema and children in the Y6 class I was visiting were all queueing up to read the three copies that were available.

Equally important is an awareness of purpose and audience. However they may be less aware of the purpose and audience for their creative story writing. In order for children to see themselves as authors who have a story to share, it is important that they know how authors work. As a result of a visit to school from one local author, the children in my class always carried a notebook where they jotted down ideas that might be useful for a future story.

The National Literacy Strategy training materials advocate the importance of familiarising children with story structure and the authorial techniques for narrative writing. However, children are often encouraged to write in a formulaic way, focusing on scene-setting, characterisation, problem-setting and resolution from Y3 through to Y6.

Although these components provide a base from which to model narrative writing, as their writing develops children need the opportunity to experiment with creative interpretations of the story components and experiment with the sequence of these components. As we have demonstrated, challenging texts often play around with structural elements and interweave different elements in unconventional ways. They make demands on both the reader and the writer. Just as young children need to know that what they write will have an audience, older children should learn to recognise the needs of more diverse audiences.

They need opportunities to engage in extended writing, to plan, draft, edit and publish work that they are pleased with. One of the most positive strategies that the NLS training materials advocated was the importance of teachers, through shared or guided writing, modelling the thought processes that accompanied the compositional aspects of writing a story. In the past much of the emphasis on redrafting was on the transcriptional aspects of writing with children expecting their initial ideas to remain unchanged.

The use of the interactive whiteboard and word-processing has made the drafting process easier. If children become used to drafting their stories in the compositional stage, they will know that ideas are often rejected, edited out or changed. The process of reviewing, editing and changing the sequence of events should be seen as a response to the needs of the audience. For example, children may have thought of a problem they are going to include in their story without having considered the setting.

The process of writing a story is not necessarily linear. These components of narrative should not be seen as necessarily sequential. Scene setting There are many ways to encourage children to set the scene in their stories and to choose vocabulary and syntax to convey mood and atmosphere for the audience. As teachers we might provide music, visual images, taste or smell to suggest words or phrases to convey an atmosphere. They were authors researching their material.

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Characterisation It is by exploring in detail the range of techniques that an author uses that children learn to use methods other than just direct description of physical or personal characteristics. This is most easily achieved by asking questions of a text that rely on inferential knowledge. This might be carried out as a prelude to shared writing. Children can highlight all the information they have about a character using the interactive whiteboard or a photocopy of a text.

By seeing the teacher model the thought processes of the author, the children learn how and why a character is presented in a particular way and why the reader empathises or dislikes a character at a given point in the story. They are learning about the process of writing and can try out some of the ideas for themselves.

Improvisation in drama sessions can encourage children to think creatively about the types of problems that may be encountered in a particular genre and different possible solutions. As a teacher you might set a problem for the children to resolve in groups. Children may act out or freeze-frame a problem. What actions are required? What contribution do the protagonists make to resolve the problem?

Groups can set problems or provide solutions for other groups. The stylistic choices that need to be made to convey the seriousness or urgency of a situation might then be explored through shared and guided writing. Extended writing It is crucial that children have the opportunity to combine the components of narrative that they have been learning about in formal and informal ways to produce their own stories for an audience. This cannot be achieved in a single lesson but will need a longer period of time, if the end result is to be a story that they are proud of. As a follow-on to the successful paired reading that was already established in the school, where older children listened to a younger child read and enjoyed stories with them, they engaged in a writing project.

In a short interview the Y5 children asked their young partners what types of story they liked to read, listen to or watch on TV, as they were going to write a story just for them. The Y2 children showed them their favourite books. They talked about their favourite cartoons and videos. The children made notes on what their partners told them to help them plan the story. The information helped them to decide on genre, structure, characters and setting. The children researched the genre of the story that they were writing. This entailed reading favourite books, immersing themselves in a particular genre, looking at the language, layout, illustrations.

They had to plan, draft and review their stories. No child was excluded. Some children needed help with the secretarial aspects of their work. The children wrote their own biographical details inside the cover. A project such as I have described can be incorporated into a unit of work whether or not there is a formal structure such as the literacy hour.

It provides children with the opportunity and incentive to work on an extended piece of writing. The children can make the books in Design and Technology and illustrate them in Art if the practice in the school restricts the content of the literacy hour. Writing in the style of an author It is important to provide opportunities for children to have experience of longer novels and consider stylistic features.

At KS2 it is important to explore with children how an author makes their stylistic choice Y5 Term 3 Text level 9. This can only be accomplished by close reading of a text and exploring how the scene is set, how the characters think, behave and speak and why. In turn children can take the story on and explain how they made their choices. The teacher conveyed his enthusiasm for the books and the children were passionate about them. The children were to write another chapter or scene for the book that they imagined the author might have edited out.

Perhaps it was too terrible to recall even for Lemony Snicket! At strategic points during the novel, the teacher discussed with the class what might happen next, why a character behaved in the way that they did, possible alternatives to events. The children were so involved with the Baudelaire children and with their enemy, Count Olaf, that they had lots of suggestions and would carry on their discussions beyond the classroom. The children worked in mixed ability groups to write other scenes that might have been included if they were co-authoring.

The group scribes used large sheets of paper to jot down suggestions. Once they had their skeleton plan the children were supported in the writing process through opportunities for improvised role-play, hot-seating, thought tracking, decision alley and group discussion.

After some redrafting, one member of each group typed up the additional scene. Some groups included illustrations in the style of Brett Helquist. For example, words, phrases, sentences. Music, still image, fading out? For example, close-up, angle, lighting. Children can experiment with hand-held video cameras or digital camera, to try out different opening shots for one of their own stories.

Many DVDs have out-takes and interviews with the characters and many children will be familiar with these. The children will be constantly switching from producer to audience. London: BFI Education. Chambers, A. London: Thimble Press. Daniels, J. London: Cassell. Fine, A. Gamble, N. London: Paul Chapman. Wilson, A. Useful websites http:www.

There is also useful information on latest publications and teaching resources.


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  6. There are practical supportive suggestions on how to use the material in the classroom and suggested activities for children. There are also suggestions as to how the material might be used as informal educational activities for families, an area that we have emphasised throughout this book. London: Egmont. First, review your day so far. And all of these before you even get to work! They enable us to: recall and recount; persuade and instruct; inform and explain; discuss and analyse the world around us.

    They can help us to convince others of our beliefs political pamphlets and dictate how we spend our money adverts. Each of these is described and explored in a series of glossy pamphlets produced by the DfEE. Consider, for example, a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey: In their own mountainous homeland, Kashmiris eat haak all through the year. In the summer and early autumn, they pluck the leaves right off the stalk and cook them very simply in mustard oil with a touch of asafetida. The asafetida has traditionally come from their neighbour, Afghanistan.

    As the chill winter sets in with a staying determination, haak is dried in plaited wreaths to preserve it for the snowy winter months. Which boxes does it tick? Fictional narratives tell us a story — they may contain elements of fact and be presented in such a way as to convince the reader or watcher of the events unfolding, but they are not literally true. It can be presented and read as impartial and serious and authoritative.

    As our lives become increasingly dominated by powerful and sophisticated images and texts, it has never been more important to develop critical and analytical reading strategies. Authorial decisions with regard to contents inclusions and, critically, omissions , point of view, text type, organisation, tone, etc.

    We consider how to engage children in writing in role in order to explore a number of text types in a meaningful and active way. In Chapter 6 we focus on the importance of reading and writing across the curriculum with explicit links made to other National Curriculum subject areas. As the greater part of information is passed to us verbally TV and radio news, word of mouth, educational and promotional DVDs, telephone, etc. You expect to be introduced slowly to the settings, themes and characters as the narrative weaves a spell and you become immersed as the story unfolds.

    Early Years and primary school teachers are historically very good at supporting children on this narrative journey, modelling the process through shared and guided reading and through reading stories regularly to the children.

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    And yet the scenario is rather different when reading an information text. Each demands of the reader slightly different skills in order to draw out the information we want to know. These are vital and necessary skills across the age phases that can be learnt alongside narrative reading strategies. The creative teacher will avoid at all costs those purposeless exercises where the children have to use a dictionary to order a list of unrelated words or copy down a number of explanations taken from a glossary. This model recognised the limitations of dry comprehension questions where children could supply the right form of words regardless of whether they understood or cared about the content of the passage.

    For example: The female fox is called a vixen. What is the female fox called? The female fox is called a vixen. This model offers a useful starting point for the creative practitioner to use across the Primary age phases and it can be applied to the reading that children engage with in all areas of the curriculum. Each of the following chapters adapts aspects of this model with explicit examples of age-related practice. This understanding that you have something valuable to tell people is a powerful motivator. It is important to look at texts critically to ensure that they are relevant and inclusive and current.

    Some texts that do perpetuate stereotypical views and beliefs should be kept separately by the teacher to help inform discussions on bias and stereotyping. Inclusive practices Learning styles and special educational needs As creative teachers we want to promote an inclusive learning environment where a range of learning styles are recognised and children and adults learn with and from each other.

    These activities will support a range of learning styles including kinaesthetic, visual, physical as well as literary. Bilingual pupils The activities discussed above will additionally support bilingual pupils. In particular the use of visual aids and role-play will enable children to participate in their response to the texts. Many books, software and internet sites are also available in a wide range of languages and as dual texts. References Barrs, M. London: CLPE. DfES Writing Fliers 1—6. Jaffrey, M. London: Jonathan Cape. Lewis, M. University of Reading.

    London: HMI London: Routledge. Useful websites The Primary National Strategy hosts a range of useful and less useful resources including all of the curriculum documents and supporting literacy materials in downloadable form: www. Put the milk in the bowl. Put the sugar in the bowl. Eat it all up. Reading, writing, watching and encoding these texts form the core of functional language use.

    Life can be very hard for people who are not familiar with these communication systems. Children of two and three years old using DVD players to watch their favourite programmes or reading and writing e-mails or mobile phone text messages are not unusual occurrences. The children are used to using a rapidly expanding cache of communication tools in order to access and pass on information. My favourite things Ask children with the help of parents and carers to keep a scrapbook or sketchbook of their favourite things — pictures of special toys taken from catalogues, photos of pets and family members, wrappers from sweets or delicious foods, birthday cards, postcards, tickets from outings and journeys and so on.

    Children can add to these books at home and school and should become unique to each child. Travelling Teddy Many Early Years classrooms have a treasured teddy, doll, benign monster or other beloved stuffed animal. This classroom friend must be treated as a most special Creative Teaching: English in the Early Years and Primary Classroom and much desired addition to the class by adults and children alike in order to generate the enthusiasm and interest necessary to keep this activity going so that all the children who want to can participate in turn.

    Each week the teddy must pack its tiny bag or suitcase with help from the children complete with a range of communication tools including items such as a diary, camera, blank stamped postcard, scrapbook and passport and then travel home with one of the children it must be a volunteer for the week. Each week the class could welcome Teddy back and the host child could be encouraged to share their adventures. The important element here is to ensure effective communication between the home and the setting and to allow the child an opportunity to share home activities in school.

    This would seem to be an oversight in the light of several major initiatives in this area see work being developed by UKRA and the BFI, for example. Being given the opportunity to explore factual texts and ideas verbally allows the children time to rehearse their thoughts on a subject and encourages a dialogue about information.

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    It is an essential precursor to critical analysis of texts and the beginnings of the right to question. Framing questions Searching for information needs to begin with a question that demands answers. How did you do that? Where does granny live? Why is the sky blue? The young infant will have been asking questions of their parents and carers for as long as they could be understood. A key factor in this process is Creative Teaching: English in the Early Years and Primary Classroom to support the framing of questions. As the children become more familiar with the routines, they will enjoy taking the role of teller or questioner.

    The role of the adult in the following examples, and in the general discourse throughout the school day, is to model the use of effective questioning and response to questions. It is important to demonstrate the use of a range of open and closed questions. Closed questions demand a single right answer How many cats do you have? What time do you go to bed? Who is taking you home tonight? Open questions invite a range of possible answers What do you think might happen next? How could we carry these sweets home safely? Both types of questioning are valuable but, if we are to encourage creativity in thinking and response, we need to encourage children to answer with real thought rather than parroting the answers they think we want to hear.

    The children know when they are to have their turn and so can prepare what they want to share with the other children. They sit on the special chair indicated by a particular cushion or cloth, perhaps and the adult then invites the child to tell their news. The children asking the questions would need some visual prompts to support them initially a display or poster of question words — Where?

    Only the holder of the object may speak and the others must be the listeners. The work undertaken by Jenny Mosley in this area is excellent Mosley and Sonnet Access to a relevant website or information book is also very helpful here. In a unit of work on pets, for example, the teacher could become a vet. The children need time and support to plan and ask relevant and revealing questions that they really want to know the answers to.

    If the children are to become absorbed in meaningful play in these areas it is essential that the areas are familiar to the children in their everyday lives at this stage in their development. Preparatory visits to real-life venues will enable the children to help plan and resource the area as well as supplying a wealth of memories from which to plunder during their future independent play.

    Planning opportunities to speak in role and to experience roles outside of their lives is an essential part of Early Years education. This ability to interchange between levels of formality in speech demonstrates an already sophisticated linguistic ability to alter the way we talk to different audiences for maximum effect.

    Reading and writing in role will give real and often urgent reasons to write entering an appointment in the diary; writing a prescription for a sick cat; taking the class register and to read for a genuine purpose who is next in the line to see the doctor; what do I want to eat? Table 4. These examples are offered as a starting point to help you consider the enormous potential for language-based activities within these role-play areas. Children will rehearse the language used by the adults they have seen in these situations and will begin to explore cause and effect when they take decisions on behalf of their characters.

    Teacher-in-role The role of the adult in these role-play areas is frequently debated among Early Years educators. She would be encouraging the children to consider the most effective way of communicating with her as well as raising the status of the play. Mime Engaging children in a play without words is an excellent way to extend their use of non-verbal gestures and clarity of physical movements. It is vital to share with the children in the setting the power of reading for information through a range of invaluable classroom routines in a range of community languages wherever possible — just as the children expect to see outside school.

    Using and displaying photos, diagrams, arrows and real objects to support the reading process for monolingual and bilingual adults and children can exemplify many written texts. Texts should be written and read by both the adults and the children in the setting. It can be helpful to ask the children in your setting about the kind of information books and electronic texts they would like to see budget permitting, of course. Firm favourites with young children usually include reference to animals, the human body, food and babies. Reading areas We discussed the importance of developing a stimulating and relaxing reading area or book corner in the chapter on Early Years Fiction.

    The creative practitioner will manipulate real events to occur sometimes through luck but more often through imagination, drama and make-believe. Following instructional texts As instructional texts are written to help us to make or do something we want to do, it is vital to ensure that children are encouraged to, and enabled to, follow them practically, i. Engaging in a stimulating correspondence Children often respond enthusiastically when engaged in a genuine or convincing but imaginary correspondence.

    The exchange begins when the children enter the nursery one day and one child spots a large envelope addressed to the class sticking out from the display board. As the teacher opens the envelope and reads the note from the ladybird asking the children to guess her name, the children are immediately drawn in to a lengthy, meaningful and prosperous make-believe relationship. Second, the text itself is often not written or designed to be read aloud — diagrams, photographs, tables and grids hold much of the information and are designed to be pored over by the individual reader.

    Third, many information texts are often not designed to be linear or sequential. Finally, many instructional texts require you to follow the instructions as you are reading — recipes, car manuals, book-making instructions, knitting patterns, etc.