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Come aboard the Hogwarts Express!

Monday 26th June 2017 marks twenty years since the first publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.  In this blog, Michelle Nicjolson celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the release of JK Rowling’s fabulous book, with some ideas for bringing the story to life in the classroom.

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On bunnies, magic and the genius of Mini Grey…The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show

Martin Galway suggests that some especially badly behaved rabbits might just deserve a second chance, and a place in your library, in this review of Mini Grey’s latest picturebook.

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2017 KS2 Reading Paper: A secret shared and some questions to ask – a year on

In this blog (a direct follow up to her popular entry from last year) Jane Andrews once again analyses the questions served up in the KS2 reading paper and updates her question stem resource for 2017, for use in school. 

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From Riches to Rags: an analysis of the 2017 reading paper

Penny Slater unpicks the 2017 reading paper and concludes that despite the concepts within the texts being more easily accessible for most children, the challenge of the reading test remains high.

Following last week’s SATs, we now have two tests that we can analyse in order to gain a better understanding of what the DFE mean by ‘greater challenge’. What follows is an attempt to unpick this year’s reading test, and gain a better understanding of where those elusive assessment goal posts now stand.

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Book Review Round-up

Sabrina Wright, Michelle Nicholson and Penny Slater share a little of what they have been reading and enjoying recently.

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Flexing Fluency Muscles with Great Texts (Oh…and they are free too!)

In this short blog, Penny Slater points to some texts that may prove useful in the last few weeks leading up to this year’s SATS.

Let’s cut to the chase…It’s early summer term. You are a Y6 teacher. You have a couple of weeks left before the 2017 Reading SATs paper. What you are probably looking for are some great texts that will give your pupils a final push to prepare for the challenge ahead? Oh…and you probably need those texts to be free and easily accessible. If so, read on….

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Guided reading – whole class or guided groups?

In this blog, Alison Dawkins takes a look at the ways in which guided reading is organised and shares some reflections on the benefits of guiding reading in groups.  To explore some earlier ideas from Alison in relation to streamlining the more traditional reading carousel,  you may want to read Guided Reading – Where next? 

Both in and out of school at the moment, I’m meeting increasing numbers of people talking about trying ‘whole class guided reading’ in KS2. They mention the children’s enthusiasm, the opportunity to engage with a whole text, the deepened questioning, and the release from the burden of planning a range of ‘activities’.

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The power of a good book – leading the way to successful grammar teaching.

In this blog, Kathy Roe looks at the invaluable role that high quality texts can play in supporting children’s knowledge and understanding of grammar. 

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Modelling early literacy

Kirsten Snook is a Teaching and Learning Adviser for English at Herts for Learning

We tend to think that children are intrinsically motivated to write much later than they are to read. But why? It has, however, been suggested that very young children are more motivated by a shared writing episode than a shared reading one, due to an emerging sense of self and place in the world.

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