This is just a signpost towards all the stuff I have written about reading. More recently, I have been getting far more interested in the process, culture and love of reading, so this is a good time to collate what’s gone before, since I expect I’ll be writing about it a whole lot more from now on!
The Feeling of Reading – May 2017 – What is it that we can do to generate that transcendent feeling that comes about when we are being read to, and being read to well. How can we summon that almost mythical hush that comes about from having a room of people all engaged in storytelling?
Dahl Dependency: Break the Cycle – March 2017 – We all like Roald Dahl, and maybe that is the problem? The ubiquity of Dahl means that all children encounter his stories a lot, so why do so many schools present pupils with the same small number of books that they are likely to encounter outside of school? Teachers, we need to step out of that comfort zone, break our Dahl Dependency, sit cross-legged in the kids’ book section of our local bookshop and raise our knowledge of the field. And when we do, it is incredibly enriching!
Respecting Mother Tongues – February 2017 – Whilst our classrooms may be made up of pupils from a diverse range of backgrounds, our school systems, curricula and policies haven’t necessarily caught up. If pupils are becoming more proficient at English, is it a problem if they lose their ability to read and write in their first language? I argue that it is a problem, and that as schools, we can and should do lots more.
On Learning Poems By Heart – November 2015 – Is there any need or justification for children to be learning poetry by heart? Does this process undermine the meaning of poetry as something that benefits from being interpreted openly, or does the memorisation assist meaning-making?
Local Literacies – June 2015 – Slang and dialect have an incredibly powerful role as markers of inclusion and exclusion. To be in the know with vocabulary is a representation of social belonging and it is fascinating. Reading goes beyond the papery things we find on shelves; local literacies come from sources as wide ranging as Vines (RIP), vloggers and pranksters, whose fame rivals that of the Dahls and Morpurgos of the world.
Storytelling, Fear and Horror – February 2015 – There is a peculiar power when telling stories that scare inspire fear. What kind of fear is ‘just right’? Neither too tame nor too terrifying, how can we strike that balance so that we can excite and enervate through our words, when reading aloud. Perhaps we need to be reading our own stories, of our own creation, so we can pitch it perfectly?
The Joy of Multimodal Literacy – February 2015 – An outline of the theory and practice of multimodal literacy projects, as they have happened in my classes. As always, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the incredible Jane Bednall, who worked with me, inspired me and shared her wisdom and resources to make the texts come alive.
Writers, Kids Deserve More Than Poo Jokes – October 2014 – Children’s books suffer from an unfair reputation, and the writers are sometimes patronised. The worst thing is when the writers underestimate the children, and seem to think the recipe is to build short plot-free stories which are essentially a sequence of defecation accidents. Step it up, humorous writers, and learn from the quirky likes of Andy Stanton – kids have a refined humour and deserve more from their fiction.