WHAT WE’RE READING
Want to know what each class is reading at the moment? Look no further.
Author of the Month
After writing songs with his band McFly for several years, Tom Fletcher turned his hand to writing stories. He is one half of the duo behind the bestselling Dinosaur That Pooped series. The Christmasaurus was Tom’s first novel for young readers, and combines his love of Christmas and dinosaurs. This was followed in October 2017 by The Creakers, a darkly magical tale about monsters under the bed. His latest and first young adult novel, Eve of Man, written in collaboration with his wife Giovanna Fletcher, was published in May 2018.
He is dad to Buzz, Buddy and Max, and has been named Celebrity Dad of the Year 2016.
Need some inspiration to use those book tokens you got for Christmas? Look no further!
3 Years +
Kiwicorn by Kat Merewether
Across pages as bright and boldly coloured as the little Kiwicorn’s horn, this book celebrates all that small children are and can be: polite and peaceful, gentle and good-hearted, big dreamers, independent and individual. The left hand of each spread poses a question, to which the answer given on the right hand is always ‘I am’. Just to underscore this and remove any shadow of doubt, the final spread presents us with a mirror, so that young readers can actually see themselves in the pages. The Kiwicorn is a very appealing little character and this is a fun, positive read.
Andrea Reece, Books for Keeps
5 Years +
The Sea Saw by Tom Percival
When Sofia loses her beloved teddy after a day at the beach, she is heartbroken. But the sea saw it all, and maybe, just maybe, it can bring Sofia and her teddy back together. However long it may take... Exquisite collage artwork is paired with an assured, moving text in this very special picture book.
7 Years +
Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Dwarves of Doom
Roger is just an ordinary boy, in an ordinary world - or so he thinks, until a grumpy dwarf warrior, Mossbelly MacFearsome, appears out of thin air and saves him from the school bully. If that isn't incredible enough, now Moss has decided that Roger is the perfect human companion for his daring quest to defeat the dwarves' arch-enemy Leatherhead Barnstorm and his horrifying horde of monstrous (but very polite) gorefiends.
If Roger doesn't help Moss, the world as we know it will be destroyed by ogres and dragons and the race of humans will be annihilated. If he does help, he will be late for his tea and his mum will be going mad with worry.
A Highland castle, a trainee witch who knows karate, and an ancient spell to be broken - by King Golmar's braces, just what has Roger got himself into?
9 Years +
The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher
Beautifully written in prose that sparkles like the snow that provides its backdrop, this fantasy novel is practically perfect in every way. Young orphan Seren (it’s Welsh for star) is travelling alone through a winter’s night to her godfather and his family. They live in a big house in the heart of Wales and though she’s never met them before, a lifelong reader, she knows how this sort of story should go. Waiting for her next train on a freezing platform she meets a stranger. He’s flustered, clearly frightened of something, and leaves a bulky parcel in her care before disappearing. When she finally arrives at her destination, to find that her godfather, his wife and young son Tomos are absent, and that there's only a skeleton staff of servants to meet her, she assembles the contents of the parcel to stave off boredom and loneliness. It’s a clockwork crow – an awkward, clumsy-looking thing, yet magic: wound up it comes alive. Psammead-grumpy the crow becomes her ally and together they embark on a dangerous adventure to find out what has happened to Tomos, who disappeared mysteriously one frosty night a year ago.
The story is rich with the sense of old magic and fairytale, yet is a totally original and particular bit of storytelling. At a time when books often sprawl over 300 pages or more, it is wonderfully concise too, and even better for that. A delight, and thankfully there should be more adventures for Seren to come…
Andrea Reece, Books for Keeps
11 Years +
The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay
Award winning Hilary McKay tells a captivating and deeply moving story of three young people growing up in the years before and during World War One. How their lives were totally changed by the War, how what really happened to the soldiers could never be talked about and how a girl like Clarry suddenly had opportunities because of the war are all touched on in a story that is also about universal adolescent relationships and the timeless concerns of being a teenager. Following their mother’s death at her birth, Clarry and her older brother Peter live a joyless life with their gloomy father. The pair live for their summer holidays in Cornwall with their grandparents which they share with their older cousin Rupert. Here, the trio are free to be themselves and to begin to break away from the constraints of family expectations. When war is declared Rupert enlists: his family is horrified and Clarry and Peter are left trying to work out where he might be, how they themselves should react to the war and, above all, whether Rupert is safe. Hilary McKay has a rare gift for novels about families and their interplay. Here, she weaves her story round one of the most powerful backdrops in history. And she does so with the lightest of touch which makes her history come alive.
Julia Eccleshare MBE, Guardian Children’s Editor.
The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Gullain & Yuval Zommer
Detailed, ingenious and graphically beautiful this information book opens, as the best do, with an invitation to young readers to stop and wonder as they’re asked to think about what is going on beneath their feet. No ordinary book but a fold-out poster in book form, opening out the pages reveals a huge vertical panorama that takes us down through the different layers and right into the very core of the Earth. Friendly but information-rich text explains the features of the different layers, from the pipes and wires that support our civilisation to old bones, underground rivers, coal mines. The reverse side of the poster takes up back up through the magma, then seams of minerals, limestone, fossils and finally back into the light, this time countryside rather than city street. This beautiful book will expand readers’ knowledge and understanding and inspire them to think more about our planet.
Andrea Reece, Books for Keeps
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.
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.
Use Scrabble tiles to add some mental maths into your spelling practice. Find out how much each word scores or, for a greater challenge, match the total scores to the words.
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.
Class 1 - Esme
A vivid description of a rambling island full of powerful vocabulary and similes.
Class 2 - Scarlett
Wonderful descriptive language when describing a rambling island.
Class 3 - Lyla
Beautiful vocabulary choices and openers.
Class 4 - Sai
Wonderful descriptive language about Scrooge and a Victorian setting.
Class 5 - Woody
A wonderful piece of independent writing - a newspaper report based on 'The Midnight Fox'.
Class 6 - Ruby
As a piece of work, Ruby has created something great. Lovely vocabulary, poetic imagery. A beautiful description.
Class 7 - John
An exciting 'The Explorer' story which was just like picking the book off the shelf.
Class 8 - Eleanor
Fabulous Explorer independent writing. Eleanor made careful and creative vocabulary choices and the characterisation was in line with the original.
Class 9 - Rosa
Rosa finds writing hard and usually she is a little frightened to put pen to paper. However, in this piece of writing, Rosa has thrown caution to the wind and rattled off a really good piece of writing about space. It just goes to show what she can achieve. The little mistakes don't matter for now...what's important is that Rosa has proved that if she relaxes and lets her pencil do the hard work, she can produce something really good. Mrs Moss is very proud of her.
Class 10 - Martha
Terrific use of punctuation and vocabulary.
Class 11 - Sam
Great language choices and use of short sentences.
Class 12 - Sophie
Wonderful use of vocabulary and description to create a tense atmosphere.
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.
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:
- Tell the story from a meerkat's point of view.
- Create an internal monologue for the vulture.
- Describe the beautiful setting of the African plains.
- Create some dialogue between the meerkats at various points in the film.