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WHAT WE’RE READING

 

Want to know what each class is reading at the moment? Look no further.

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Author of the Month

 

Abi Elphinstone

 

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood running wild across the moors, hiding in tree houses and building dens in the woods.

After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as an English teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London.

She is the author of The Dreamsnatcher, The Shadow Keeper, The Night Spinner, Sky Song and Ever Dark. Abi has been shortlisted for numerous awards and Sky Song was selected as a Waterstones Children's Book of the Month.

When she's not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk (a reading charity), speaks in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventures include living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and dog-sledding across the Arctic.

 

 

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RECOMMENDATIONS

Need some inspiration to use those book tokens you got for Christmas? Look no further!

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3+: The Steves by Morag Hood

With its comic storyline and bright, bold, minimalist illustrations, The Steves is another bit of picture book genius from the hugely talented Morag Hood. It stars two young puffins, both lively and busy, both called Steve – which is where the trouble starts. The two compete – with increasing determination and bluster – to be top, ‘the Stevest Steve’. Watching their antics as they try to best one another is very funny and the illustrations brim with vitality right to the last page, with its unexpected twist. Children will laugh out loud at what the two Steves get up to, but they’ll recognise all the emotions they’re feeling too. Brilliant!

ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS

 

5+: Circle by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

The main protagonist of this smart picture book may be a circle, and the co-stars a triangle and a square, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a multi-faceted story. Triangle and Square are playing hide and seek with Circle. They’re allowed to go anywhere except behind the waterfall, because it’s really dark there. Of course someone disobeys and in a carefully composed and very effective drama the tension rises as Circle goes looking for Square. It gets darker and darker, until only all we can see are her oblong eyes. Counting eyes in the dark leads us to the story’s very funny climax and its message that we shouldn’t be frightened of the unknown. Klassen’s illustrations are full of colour and depth despite the limited palette, and this is another very special picture book from a brilliant team.

ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS

 

7+: A Moon Girl Stole My Friend by Rebecca Patterson

The setting for Rebecca Patterson’s lively story of friends falling out is Earth eighty years in the future, and quite a lot has changed. People are getting around in flying cars, real food has pretty well been replaced by acquagrown substitutes, and the Moon has been colonised. The school playground is patrolled by cyborgs, but the children in it are the same as they’ve ever been. Lyla has been best friends with Bianca since nursery, but when a cool new girl joins the class, she finds herself pushed out.  How can she win back her friend, and why does no-one see just how mean Petra is? The story is short and full of humour, but still carries a lot of weight and for all the fun and adventures will set readers thinking about how we treat other people, and how we’d like to be treated in return. This is a really good story for newly confident readers.

ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS

 

9+: Sea-ing is Believing by Steven Butler, illustrated by Steven Lenton

There’s monster-sized fun for readers to be had at the Nothing To See Here Hotel – after all, it is the world’s number one holiday destination for magical creatures. In the company of the proprietors’ son, the irrepressible Frankie Banister (who is part troll by the way), we get best seats for the action which here concerns the return of Frankie’s great-great-great-grandfather Abraham, as a ghost. You’d think great-great-great-granny Regurgita would be happy to see her husband back, but nothing goes as you’d expect in these stories, and maybe everyone should be a bit suspicious of Abraham. Adventures don’t come more extraordinary or more enjoyable than these, and any readers with a taste for fast-moving, fabulously funny illustrated tales should book in asap.

ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS

 

11+: The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock

Fleur Hitchcock’s exciting other-world thriller oozes atmosphere.  Athan Wilde lives with his mother and sisters, the youngest of whom is unable to walk. The family are poor and his job working for inventor Mr Chen is important, though his mother is suspicious of Mr Chen especially when one of his experiments backfires accidentally destroying her hen house. But someone else is really out to get him and when Mr Chen is murdered Athan is in danger too, the murderer ready to use violence and kidnap to discover his employer’s secrets.  It’s a gripping, fast-paced story with an air of Dickensian gothic and some of the supporting characters – Athan’s nasty, narrow-minded granny for example – are particularly shuddersome.  Enjoyable adventure for robust readers.

ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS

 

Non-fiction: The Stinky, Stinky Science Book by Kris Hirschmann. Illustrated by Santy Gutierrez

In the name of science, this book allows children to create gloopy, magic slime; turn milk sour; and investigate their own farts. Well, you can’t say you weren’t warned: seldom has a title so accurately reflected the contents of a book. Sticky and stinky as the 32 experiments are however, they teach proper science, and each one is accompanied by a page of clear explanation of the different processes involved. There’s a page recommending further reading and a useful glossary, and the unorthodox approach could well inspire lots more science learning. Grown-ups can be reassured that amongst other things, the ‘rules of the lab’ emphasise the importance of cleaning up afterwards.

ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS

SUPER SPELLERS

We love to celebrate those children who have been going the extra mile in learning their spellings on Spelling Shed. We do this by looking at the children’s ‘shed score’. This is calculated as their total score for the previous seven days and so enables us to promote and celebrate consistent use over time. We’ll share the individual winners and the class of the week below along with their scores.                                           

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HINTS, TIPS & IDEAS FOR HOME

Here, we’ll share some ideas that you could use at home to help your children learn their spellings. Many of these will be activities we use in class and should therefore be familiar.

 

Ransom Words

Use newspaper and magazine headline cuttings to spell the words in your spelling list. This should help you focus on the letters needed to create each word and their position within each one.

 

We have included an image of a headline cuttings alphabet that you could save and use at home.

 

WONDERFUL WRITING

Each month, we celebrate an amazing piece of writing in each class and display it on our display in the corridor. Children can become a Writer of the Month for a range of reasons, including wonderful use of description, excellent progress, fabulous vocabulary use and fitting the purpose of a piece perfectly.

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Class 1 - Mohamed

Mohamed wrote two fantastic diary entries using some super time openers and expanded noun phrases.

 

Class 2 - Isla

A brilliant diary entry - lots of openers and adverbs. Your best piece yet!

 

Class 3 - Lucy

A lovely, detailed comic strip in the style of 'UG'.

 

Class 4  - Sammy

Sammy has made great progress with his handwriting and his language choices.

 

Class 5  - Holly

Chosen for writing a fabulous ending to 'The Midnight Fox' using all the prompts asked to, including a simile and an embedded clause.

 

Class 6 - Isabelle

I loved the way Isabelle wrote with the same tone and expression as our current author. Her overall effort is great!

 

Class 7 - Daniel

I am so proud of Daniel's article. Beautiful handwriting, fantastic facts and such hard work!

 

Class 8 - Billy

Lovely handwriting effort and a lovely contrasting poem.

 

Class 9 - Charlie

He has captured the tone of voice of a news article brilliantly. Very much improved handwriting too.

 

Class 10 - Ayaan

Ayaan has worked so hard at improving his structure and language choices.

 

Class 11 - Shelby

Great language selection for our Ice Trap poetry.

 

Class 12 - Charlie

Wonderfully ambitious use of vocabulary in his description.

#FREEWRITINGFRIDAY

This year, some classes have been participating in #FreeWritingFriday; a campaign launched by The Literacy Trust and author Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon, Emily Brown & The Wizards of Once) to give children the opportunity to write for their own pleasure and have complete ownership of their writing. Each child has their own writing book which is not monitored by their teacher and use them during a half hour slot on a Friday to write in any way they wish. For more information on the campaign, visit www.freewritingfriday.com.

INSPIRATION

Got a little time on your hands? Why not do a spot of writing? If you’re looking for some writing inspiration for home, look no further. Each week, you’ll find a different inspiration for writing – a photo, a drawing, a video or some text – that you could use to create your own masterpieces.

This week’s inspiration:

Pigeon Impossible

Writing Ideas

-Create a comic strip or picture board from the story.

-Write more missions for Walter which are spoilt by the pigeon.

-Write a news report on events, interviewing key witnesses etc.

-Write a persuasive argument giving an argument for why it was not the pigeon’s fault.

 

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