Riches Beyond Belief

It seems odd to be talking about something so analogue on a normally tech focussed blog,but sometimes we can overplay technology when something so simple and low fi can have amazing results. I am simply talking about sharing a book and the love of books with children.

For the last 2-3 years I have built into my own  boys’ bedtime routine a simple story time and it is beginning to show dividends as they craft their own oral stories and nag me to read them treasured stories.

Pie Corbett endorses this passing on of riches in this Youtube clip and points out that this is when children learn the templates of story telling.

With my class this year, I am very lucky that they already love reading, but I want this love to continue. They tell me about books they enjoy and authors they love, sometimes I even have to remind them to put down their texts and focus on the next instruction. I would hate to kill this love by shoehorning reading into soulless guided reading. There is nothing worse than feeding children the literary equivalent of Tesco Value fish fingers, namely a processed “written for guided reading” text that has languished in the resource area for the last year.

My children want Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo and Roald Dahl. At this point I have to give a shameless but very deserved plug to Read and Respond by Scholastic. A tool which has greatly helped me and renewed my faith in guided, shared and group reading over the last 10 days. Quite simply well worth the money. You get a pack of books and a well written teacher book containing extracts and quality exercises.

In essence with this resource you can get up to speed with the context and content of the book very quickly and while presenting the children with meaningful and stretching response tasks that are not just – do a book review or draw a story map.

Read and respond is not the panacea, it is a good tool and needs to sit alongside sharing a story with the class and filling the reading area with books and magazines. I think if you get this sharing and infectious book enthusiasm right, you will see what I am beginning to notice which is a marked effect on the written output. 


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