In Philip Pullman’s magic novel, The Firework Maker’s Daughter, Lila, the daughter in question, learns to invent and make fireworks herself. When she does so, her father encourages her to name them. She makes Golden SneezesCrackle DragonsTumbling DemonsShimmering CoinsJava LightsLeaping Monkeys. Invent some names for your own fireworks. Make a list. Choose one and describe … Continue reading Firework makers
Ask a writer for advice about writing and they are more than likely to say, ‘Read lots. Write lots.’ When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.Zadie Smith There are all kinds of reasons for reading. The tricky thing, sometimes, is to convince … Continue reading Read lots!
‘Write lots.’ Ian Rankin advises. ‘Read lots.’ Kate DiCamillo admits that when she started out to be a writer she hadn’t thought about reading. Almost every writer, when asked for advice, mentions reading. When we read, whether poetry or fiction, motoring magazines or non-fiction of any kind, we expand our repertoire, expand our horizons, absorb … Continue reading Read Lots.
Read! Read, read, read. Discover new ways of looking at things, different people and places, different ways of saying things. Here is the opening paragraph of one of our favourite novels, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer, my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for … Continue reading Because of Winn-Dixie
I frequently try to weigh up the benefits of providing material for a class and getting them involved. My choice or theirs? When it comes to choosing poems to read aloud, I know that I have in mind a variety of poems that I want children to experience. I want to introduce them to things … Continue reading Poetry jar
Writers need to read, to hear new ideas and words; to absorb different rhythms and other people’s perspectives. A poem a day, read aloud, brings all these to the classroom. Some teachers I know have a book of poems designed exactly for this, a poem a day. A poem can be tucked into almost any … Continue reading A poem a day
Read lots. Write lots.Ian Rankin Summer holidays. Now is the time to take Ian Rankin’s advice. ‘Read lots. Write lots.’ Ian Rankin writes crime novels. He lives in Edinburgh and most of his stories are set there or nearby. He is not the only writer to give that advice: Read lots. Write lots. Read things … Continue reading Advice from a writer
When I go to bed When I go to bed my mum and dad get my microphone and dance all night. My mum eats lots of gummy sweets and she doesn’t brush her teeth! My dad knocks on all the neighbours’ doors and lies that Arsenal won. When I go to bed my mum and … Continue reading When I go to bed
This week we are going to think about language in a more focused way. We continue to read aloud and have children read for themselves. In doing so they acquire the rhythms and turns of phrase, the vocabulary of a favoured author, the desire to try out a new way of writing. It is also … Continue reading Inside the words
Non-fiction has a terrible reputation in schools. I have to say it has earned it -all that endless, pointless, writing of instructions, the torture of an explanation and the dreariness of a recount or a balanced argument, painstakingly written within the spiky scaffolding of a writing frame; the convoluted excuses - or the, more honest, … Continue reading Non-fiction