Read for Pleasure

Busy week, delivering my first course.

Read for Pleasure the How as well as the why – that was the tag line.  Helen, a literacy consultant, brought together the latest research studies into reading for pleasure.  Giving an overview of how important it is and showing indications as to why this will be the next important area in curriculum focus.

My role was to firstly give an overview of our school library, at Sacred Heart, and how it has grown year and year; being central to the role of promoting reading for pleasure.  After lunch I covered the activities which have been central to the success.  This included the competitions, the book groups, library lunches, displays and generally the whole culture of book promotion throughout the school.

Although some people in the audience didn’t have the luxury of a dedicated school library space, they could see how the ideas could be adapted to suit their class.

Hopefully, the promotion of reading for pleasure will be a major consideration for the candidates who attended the course.

The Shark in the Dark – Peter Bently


Our local School Library Service introduced us to this picture book as part of their ‘Dive into Books’ reading challenge.

The children love it and were soon joining in.  The rhyme makes it perfect for reading aloud.

The beautiful illustrations are very atmospheric and I can just imagine some creative work based on these illustrations.  The pure genius behind the little fishes plan to trick the shark is wonderful, something the children can relate to.

I’m sure I will have to buy more than one copy for our library as it will be in popular demand.

New Librarians Display

It’s that time of year again!

Time to give out application forms for those in year 5 who would like to be junior librarians next academic year.

New librarians means new display.


I backed the display board with a ‘bookcase’ wallpaper, added a black border and black photo frames (without the glass), finishing it off with black lettering and black name plates will be added.

Looks great, I think you’ll agree!!

Now I have to choose my librarians.

Rights of the Reader

rights 1

Having read this book approximately 3 years ago, and finding it full of useful ways to coax reluctant readers back, I displayed the poster of ‘the rights of the reader’ in the school library.

I have had a number of conversations with members of my book groups, junior librarians and regular library users regarding the ten different ‘rights’, which are;

1. The right not to read
2. The right to skip
3. The right not to finish a book
4. The right to read it again
5. The right to read anything
6. The right to mistake a book for real life
7. The right to read anywhere
8. The right to dip in
9. The right to read out loud
10. The right to be quiet

The children, who have noticed the poster,  have mainly picked up on point 3 the right not to finish a book  , with comments like, ‘we have to finish a book’, ‘we’re not aloud to leave a book unfinished’, ‘we’d get told off if we didn’t finish it’. When I quizzed them further they referred to the school reading scheme books and having to finish all the books before being allowed to move up a level; which is a whole other discussion.  I can’t think of anything that would put me off more than trudging through a book which I really wasn’t enjoying.

I regularly have conversations with children who are returning books to gauge opinion, check out the popular genres etc., some children do return a book sheepishly saying they haven’t finished the book because it was too hard, they weren’t enjoying it or couldn’t get into the story; my reply is always something along the lines of ‘well let’s see if we can find something you will enjoy’. This usually strikes up a conversation around their likes/dislikes but in 9 times out of ten they leave with a book they are happy with.  Just being given the freedom of choosing and trying, without the pressure, reaps benefits.

It’s not just about getting children to read it’s about children choosing to read; if by using this list it prevents children being ‘put-off’ then every classroom should display a copy of the poster, after the teacher has read the book of course!

A link to the ‘rights of the reader’ poster –

Forbidden Library Series – The Mad Apprentice

mad apprentice

Having read the first book in the series I was eager to read about the continuing adventures of Alice.

In the first book, The Forbidden Library, we learned how Alice was a Reader; able to read herself into stories.  She has continued her training under her uncle, Geryon’s, watchful eye, after the disappearance of her father.

Alice, along with another 5 Readers, are sent on a journey to find a Reader apprentice who seems to have gone mad.  Each of the apprentices has a skill, which they obtained from books that they tamed but they soon learn that it is Torment, the master of this library, who has gone mad.  Will they have the skill to out wit the master?

This book reminded me of a Jason and the Argonauts type film.  It was extremely fast paced with statues coming to life, things lurking in the shadows and strange creatures.  It was interesting to learn more about Ending and the Dragon; giving us clues to their future role in the story.  I am eager to see how the story develops.

I have more than a dozen readers, aged 9-11, in my library who have enjoyed the first book in the series so I am sure they will be delighted to see the 2nd book as a new addition to our library!



This shelfie is of 10 of my favourite children’s books.  There are lots more I could have put on the shelf but as I’m going to have a competition of staff shelfie’s I didn’t want to give too many clues away; especially as all the children know ‘Wonder’ is one of my favourites!

Some of the books are old copies from when I was younger, with the Enid Blyton book having a cost on the back of 75p! I bought it with my pocket money.

Wonder what the staff will put on their shelfie’s?

Treasured Read Aloud!

The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks.


I came across this book when my daughter was only 8 or 9 (she’s now 24); we read it together as a bed time story.  We both loved it and she went on to read it again herself.  A couple of years ago I picked it up once again from the back of the bookshelf and knew instantly it would be a success as a class read aloud; I have read it 3 times to different year groups now!

The main character is Dakin, who lives in a small village in view of a strange mountain capped with pink, purple or sometimes green snow; no one knows why it isn’t white or why no one can reach the mountain however hard they try. Dakin wakes one morning to the sound of a voice which seems to be summoning her to the mountain and so the adventure begins.

She has to travel through the wicked wood, over the sea of spikes and fight the evil on the mountain to release it from a 200 year old spell.  Along the way she meets many interesting characters; gargoyles, Croak – a 200 year old frog, Graw – a winged monster, Drackamag – an ogre and a witch.

The story is filled with twists and turns with a strong leading female character.  Both the boys and girls (9-10 year olds) loved this story; asking me every time I was in their class if we going to read some more.

I’m not sure why it isn’t in print anymore but I have two copies just in case one is misplaced.  I know it will remain one of my favourites – a treasured read aloud!