Literacy News

Autumn 1 2015

Welcome back to the new term!

I hope you have had an enjoyable and restful Summer Break.

In this issue I am offering the KS1 teaching sequence The Dark by Lemony Snicket.

If you would like an editable copy of the sequence please send me a request and I will send directly to you.

I hope you find it useful!

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The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo but mostly it spends its time in the basement. It doesn't visit Laszlo in his room. Until one night it does. With emotional insight and poetic economy, Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen bring to light a universal and empowering story about conquering fear. Join a brave boy on his journey to meet the dark, and see why it will never bother him again.
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From this years results in South Tyneside it is evident that boys reading is a key issue.

Try these top tips from Gary Wilson, one of the UK’s leading authorities on raising boys’ achievement, to help get your boys reading & writing - and loving it!

· Connecting the learning is particularly important for boys. If they don’t see a clear
sense and purpose, many won’t engage.
· Give them the big picture. Mapping out ideas using graphic organisers of any kind
can really aid a boy’s engagement with learning.

· Create as many opportunities for reflection as you can. For many boys this is the
weakest link in their learning process.
· Give boys a system. Checklists, learning mats, success criteria really help boys.
· Talk, talk, talk and more talk prior to writing. For many boys, writing without talking their ideas first can be a real problem.

· Short term goals and short term rewards. “Boy friendly chunks” work best for most

· For many boys, to function effectively in group work there needs to be a clear
outcome. They need to be grouped effectively, have clear roles and there needs
to be an element of challenge.

· Present a challenge the minute they set foot in the classroom - problem-solving
works best.
· Make sure there are some opportunities for active learning in all lessons.
· Reduce peer pressure by giving peer leaders a positive focus for their natural
leadership ability.
· Reflect on how you talk to boys and how you talk to girls - look at the frequency,
the nature and the quality of those interactions. Many boys believe teachers
prefer girls just because of the way we talk to them.
· Make it fun! Relate to their personal interests - value what it is that boys bring to the table and let’s help stop the negative labelling that so many boys suffer from.

For more information click on the link below

Reading Apps

As you know boys love using ICT to engage them with their learning so why not try these KS2 Reading Apps to improve their comprehension skills.

Find in the App Store.

Have a go and let me know what you think.

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If boys reading is an issue in your school and you would like some training for staff please contact me.

In the Spring Term in association with Oxford University Press we will hopefully be hosting (with an expert in this field) a training event around boys and reading.

I will keep you updated!

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Northern Children’s Book Festival 2015 - 9th – 21st November

Would your school be interested in participating in this year's Northern Childrens Book Festival. The Northern Children’s Book Festival is the biggest children’s book event in Europe. Over a two week period in November over 40 visiting authors, poets and performers visit the North East of England.

The authors this year are:

Tuesday 10th November

Caryl Hart KS1

Traditional Tales session

Wednesday 11th November

Craig Bradley KS1 & 2

Lots of performance poetry, songs, jokes, stories, interaction. Writing a poem together as a group, making poems up on spur of moment, turning poems into songs

Friday 13th November

Guy Bass KS2

Interactive (and active!) stand-up with readings, pictures, PowerPoint and participation

Monday 16th November

Paul Cookson KS2

Performance poetry, audience participation with added ukulele.

Wednesday 18th November

Korky Paul KS1

Drawing, portrait painting and stories

Thursday 19th November

Barry Hutchinson KS2

Talk about the Benjamin Blank series, where the ideas came from, and then an interactive session on using fears to create mash-up monsters. This is done as the whole group, with pupils getting to vote on their favourite ideas.

Thursday 19th November

Tommy Donbavand KS2

‘Giant Crabs Ate My Brain!’ author talk – fast, funny and interactive.

Booking & Costs

The cost to the school would be £220 for a morning (two sessions by the author) or £110 for an afternoon session(one session by the author) Books would be provided for sale on the day for the children who visit the author. A collection of books will be loaned to your school prior to the visit to help your teachers prepare for your author encounter.

Authors are allocated on a first come first served basis and places book up very quickly. If you would be interested in participating or would like to ask anything else about the Northern Children’s Book Festival please contact

Pauline Martin

Tel : 0191 4282318

Stock and Reader Development Librarian
Jarrow Library
Cambrian Street
Tyne and Wear
NE32 3QN

Autumn Term Literacy CPD

Look out in the School Workforce Development Programme for the following Literacy CPD.

Please note the date of Improving Boys Writing Using ICT has changed.


Thursday 8th KS1 Grammar (1-4pm)

Wednesday 14th Literacy Network (4-5.30pm)

Thursday 22nd Success in Spelling (1-4pm)


Thursday 5th Year 6 Writing Moderation (1-4pm)

Thursday 12th KS2 Grammar (1-4pm)

Thursday 19th Improving Boys Writing Using ICT (1-4pm)


Wednesday 2nd Improving Boys Writing Using ICT (1-4pm)

Thursday 3rd NQT Reading (1-4pm)

Thursday 10th Reading for Teaching Assistants (1-4pm)

In-school Training

If you would like any literacy training tailored specifically to your school please don't hesitate to contact me.

Dates for your Diary

Here you will find a list of Literacy events you may want to celebrate.

For more information click on the links.

Any Ideas?

I would love teachers to add to the next newsletter so any fantastic literacy ideas or things you have done in your school that have made a real difference and you would like to share with others please email me.

The next newsletter will be going out after the half term holiday so any ideas before then would be greatly appreciated.