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Take One Book: Christmas Special!

It might feel a little early still, but Penny Slater has some – somewhat untypical – “festive” ideas based on ‘The Santa Trap’ by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene. We wanted to give sufficient notice in case you decide that you would like to invest in this darkly charming book. 

Christmas is coming, and it is time to dig out the usual array of Christmassy texts to inspire a seasonal unit of reading and writing.

If it is a charming, heart-warming and whimsical Christmas tale that you are after, you may have come to the wrong blog!

This year, we urge you to try something a bit different: something a bit edgier; a bit darker….

Our recommendation for a fresh and feisty festive treat is ‘The Santa Trap’ by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene.

Welcome Bradley Bartleby…

Conf 1

Everything that you need to know about this charmless character is conveyed on the first double-page spread:

‘Bradley Bartleby was bad.

He’d been born bad….

And the older Bradley got, the badder he became.’

The tale goes on to outline Bradley’s rapid descent from spoilt child to revenge-seeking Santa hunter!

Beyond its obvious anarchic appeal, this text provides so many opportunities for children to improve their writing skills. In the resource linked here – Santa Trap Planning Ideas  – you will find our suggestions for how this text could be used creatively to develop children’s writing skills in line with the Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation Programme of Study for each year group.

santa trap final

We hope that this fun and feisty text will help to spread a little Christmas cheer throughout your classroom this year. The question is: who will be brave enough to present each of their children with a lovely end of term Christmas gift this year?

A nice new pair of socks should do it!

Jonathan Emmett will be joining us for our spring writing conference: Write Here, Write Now.

Please join us if you can to discover more of Jonathan’s great texts, and to hear his thoughts about how to inspire young readers and writers.

Click on the link below to book your place at the conference:

17ENG/076P Write Here, Right Now – HfL Annual Primary English Conference BOOK 25 Jan 2018

 

Find out more about Jonathan and his work here: http://www.scribblestreet.co.uk/

With special thanks to Poly Bernatene for giving permission to use his images in this blog. Explore more of Poly’s work here: https://www.polybernatene.com/

 

Early findings from the KS2 Reading Fluency Project

With 150 pupils across Hertfordshire now involved in HfL’s KS2 Reading Fluency Project, Penny Slater reflects on what has been learned from the project so far.

Continue reading “Early findings from the KS2 Reading Fluency Project”

researchED 2017 workshop 1: exploring the complexities of reading comprehension difficulties

In the first of a two part blog, Martin Galway shares his thoughts on presenting a pair of workshops (one on grammar and, here, a late-notice addition on reading comprehension) at this year’s researchED  conference.

Continue reading “researchED 2017 workshop 1: exploring the complexities of reading comprehension difficulties”

If print be the food of love, read on!

End of summer hols? Survived the motorway? Survived nagging guilt to work on the beach?! Settle back with Kirsten Snook, English Teaching and Learning Adviser, and start visualising your new class of Reception-age children, classroom, ethos etc. Set out now with a ‘no excuses’ culture that’ll free Reception teachers, reassure young pupils and fire up your energy-levels for the new school year.

Continue reading “If print be the food of love, read on!”

Top Tips to Support NQTs in getting off to a flying start

In this blog, Kathy Roe (Primary English Adviser) explores some of the challenges facing a Newly Qualified Teacher at the start of their first year and offers some guidance and supportive advice.

Continue reading “Top Tips to Support NQTs in getting off to a flying start”

Trusting the texts in guided reading

Alison Dawkins considers how choosing quality books, broadly matched to children’s current reading competencies, can take the stress out of planning for guided reading.

First, a thank you to Sinéad Gaffney (@shinpad1) for her recent article at tes.com https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/whats-best-path-take-your-primary-reading-strategy where she considers the different strengths that both whole class reading and grouped guided reading can offer. Because of course, let’s have both. Let’s have all the reading we can.

Continue reading “Trusting the texts in guided reading”

Supersonic Phonics

We are pleased to welcome a guest blog from one of our Early Years colleagues:

Rose Blair, Early Years Adviser and course trainer for ‘Funky Phonics’, shares the concept and principles behind the new HfL phonic resource ‘Supersonic Phonics’.  Drawing on themes that are threaded throughout the resource, she shares some top tips to help practitioners create lively and exciting phonics sessions for all of their children.   Engaging children in phonic activities will have a hugely positive impact on their learning of these all-important early literacy skills.

Continue reading “Supersonic Phonics”

Celebrating Primary Writing: Take One Book…and run with it.

Martin Galway shares some of the wonderful work carried out by the pupils and staff at Hare Street Primary School, Harlow, inspired by the Take One Book training and approaches offered by the HfL English team.

Continue reading “Celebrating Primary Writing: Take One Book…and run with it.”

Ten top tips for core subject leaders

Kirsten Snook, English Adviser and course trainer for ‘Becoming a Highly Effective Subject Leader’, reflects on what makes the biggest differences to increasingly busy subject leaders and with increasingly tight budgets. Drawing on feedback from course delegates, she outlines some top tips that have helped them this year to really see the fruits of their labours.

Continue reading “Ten top tips for core subject leaders”

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