On Tuesday we had a visit from Sarah Brennan, an author who writes the successful series of Chinese Calendar books based on the zodiac animals. You may have some of her books at home; titles such as ‘A Dirty Story’, ‘The Tale of Sybil Snake’ and also ‘The Tale of Pin-Yin Panda’ – this is one of my favourites as it explains how all of the animals got into the Chinese zodiac. Sarah’s books are always popular with the children, not only for the interesting stories they tell, but also because of the lovely illustrations. She has a passion for Chinese culture and history, which she researches carefully, and is so knowledgeable it is a joy to listen to her. Year 5 certainly had lots of relevant questions to ask her about the Silk Road – you could see her enthusiasm was catching.
Soon we will have a visit from another author, Chris Bradford. His books are full of adventure, I believe. He says, ‘I write the type of books I'd want to read - books filled with relentless action, believable characters and a plot that twists and turns through the pages!’
We invite Book Fairs and authors into school to speak to the children as we want to encourage them to read more and enter the interesting and imaginative world of books. We know that children who read regularly do well. By reading they learn about how language is structured and how it ‘works’, which in turn makes them better writers. Reading develops curiosity and that means children enjoy finding out about new things which helps them develop as independent learners.
In the classroom reading is of course a vital and important part of the curriculum. Children are reading throughout the day especially when they take part in guided reading sessions in groups. They not only learn how to ‘break the code’ of reading, but also how to discuss the messages of text, and look for deeper messages. For instance they discuss different genres of text, the author’s style, how characters are developed, how plots unfold – there is so much to learn.
We encourage you as parents to read as much as you can with your child, whatever their age. By modelling and sharing your enjoyment of books you demonstrate the reading behaviours that will inspire them to read more. Remember our wonderful library, which has so many high quality texts, is open to parents and children on a Monday and Tuesday after school. Please take advantage of this to borrow books – happy reading!
Eleanor Jess, Head of Primary