The bottom shelf of the bookcase is the one that the little people in my life always go to. There they find the books they love to read and share – the familiars and the favourites, and often some first-reads that have been added since their last visit.
But my grandchildren (six under 10) are not the only little people in my life. I’ve been teaching primary school students for 40 years now, both as a classroom-based teacher and as a teacher librarian, and many of those years have been spent working with 5-12 year-olds helping them master the concepts and skills of reading. Over that time, I’ve developed a reasonable idea of the sorts of stories that this age group likes to read as well as the sorts of story features that support them on their journeys to being independent readers.
As a way of giving back some of the joy and delight these young readers have given me, I’m developing this blog to share my thoughts about some of the stories that have proved themselves to be perennial favourites, as well as introducing new stories through my reviews of the new releases of some of Australia’s leading publishers.
As well as picture books , there will be reviews of suitable novels, particularly those that provide a stepping stone between formal instructional readers and self-selected independent reading.
Some posts will be aimed at introducing parents to the books that I believe should be on every child’s shelf while others will offer ideas of how they might be used in the classroom setting so the story is enriched and enhanced for the child as they respond to it.
Mostly though, it’s aimed at helping adults help the children in their lives love reading for its own sake – that’s one of the greatest gifts we can ever give them.