Posts filed under ‘literacy-communication’

100 books every child should read

100 books every child should read – An introduction by Michael Morpurgo – Telegraph

A useful book list, split into ‘early’ ‘middle’ and ‘early teens’ ages (though I always take age/stage guides lightly), which I found from a useful thread on the TES forums – does putting a link to that work?…

The Telegraph list is introduced by a too-true article by Michael Morpurgo on the teaching of reading, probably worth reading at least every term!

Adding to that, there are booklists on the National Literacy Trust website, including specialist lists for particular target audiences


January 7, 2011 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

Prezi and a comprehension project

I have used The Twits as the focus for recent English lessons with a group of eight children (who are taught by me in Support for Learning for their English class). I was looking for an interesting way to wrap this up, and decided to issue the children a challenge to create ‘freeze frame’ images for each chapter of the book, which I would photograph. I split them into groups, each with responsibility for certain chapters in the book. I hoped the task would show:
– comprehension of the events in the story, including those we studied some time ago
– whether the children could ‘summarise’, by picking out the key moment in each chapter.

I gave them access to paper and pens so they could draw props/backgrounds etc. I had thought they would mainly ‘act out’ the story (we had done a little of this while reading it), with a few drawings to supplement, but they used the paper more than I expected.

The children were very excited by the idea, and keen to complete the challenge. They clearly showed recall and comprehension of the main events in the story. They showed less ability to pick out the ‘key moment’ in their chapters.

All were challenged by the need to collaborate with their partners. One group found it nearly impossible to organise themselves, keep to time and work together – for the final session, I decided rather than allowing them to ‘fail’ to complete the task, to give them an idea for each chapter and a list of jobs each to complete. This was a last resort as it took away the essential learning and assessment opportunities in the challenge, but I think it was important for their self-esteem. Interestingly, they are arguably the most ‘literate’ children in the group, being able to read independently and with understanding, unlike most of the others.

Overall, I feel it was a worthwhile task, and largely enabled me to make my assessments as I’d hoped. Beyond the reading comprehension, it was a relevant and practical talking and listening experience for the children, and I learned a great deal more about each of them as learners through observing them with this challenge.

For my own learning, I thought I’d put the children’s photos into Prezi , which was mentioned on a recent Learning and Teaching Scotland update. I’m still fumbling around with it a bit, mystified by the varying sizes in the text and the erratic autoplay (sure if I actually watched the guide videos all would be clear), but it’s lovely: very pretty, quite intuitive, with freebies for educators – deluxe.

October 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm 2 comments

Animated poetry

Just had two transition days with my new class. Can’t recall ever being as scared as I was on Thursday morning, but I loved it! Really excited now about next year, but know I’ve got to try to put planning aside for a bit and not be a workaholic all summer. And with that resolve… I found this nice animation of Jarvis Cocker reading London by William Blake on the BBC website, which got me thinking we could animate some poems as a good ICT/comprehension and art and design project…

June 20, 2009 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

“Make us the stars”

‘Scattered stars’ by fotofrances - image of many sparkly star stickers

“My hero is the teacher who made us the stars of her stories… I cannot recall her ever teaching us anything. At least, not in the strict meaning of the word ‘teach’. Everyday, at three o’clock, she would call us to assemble on the carpet. We would wait, breathless with anticipation. Her stories were the most exciting and dream inspiring, because they featured us. We became heroes and believed we could do anything.” George McCarthy, Big Issue Street Lights, September 6-12 2007.

I think this shows the power of storytelling, and the potential power of a teacher. What more could you hope for from telling a story?

The Scottish Storytelling Centre has training and resources for storytelling.

‘Scattered stars’ shared by fotofrances on Flickr under this Creative Commons licence

October 2, 2007 at 6:45 pm Leave a comment


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