• Getting started with phonics for 4-year-olds

    How many people do you think can remember learning to read? Can they remember the days, weeks, months and years their primary school teachers took teaching them a skill that would open up a world of opportunities? How many can remember recognising those initial letters on the page, combining the letters and sounds to form words and then attaching meaning to those words? The chances are, not many. For those that struggled with reading however, the memories are probably more vivid.

  • Too Grown up for picture books? by Ceridwen Eccles

    A picture book is classed as one in which a narrative is combined with a visual element. This can take the form of wordless storybooks to graphic novels. Traditionally, there has been an assumption that these books are primarily geared towards younger readers, but increasingly, teachers and parents are seeing the benefit to academic attainment, mental wellbeing and inspiring reluctant readers to engage and take joy from reading for all aged children. And indeed, for adults. 

  • Strategies for getting parents on board – what works? by Lindsay Pickton

    There are two high-frequency themes that arise in the engagement of parents/guardians in the development of reading at home: reaching those that you really, really want to reach; and moving others away from thinking that listening to their child read more challenging words is the goal. This latter has a related issue: once the child can read independently, there can be a perception that no more parent-level engagement is required – and we’ll come back to that.

  • Reading for Writing by Ben Connor

    The chicken or the egg. What comes first, reading or writing? In this blog Ben Connor discusses how reading supports successful writing.

  • Why can’t I see my family in this book? by Sarah Loader

    Has representation gone far enough? The short answer to that question is no, there’s a way to go yet. Progress has been made, and the issue of representation is firmly on the agenda, but the generally accepted concepts of reality, which are represented in children’s books, need to continue being pushed. The value lies not only in reflecting everyone’s reality, but in the opportunities for natural, explorative, curious dialogue that those representations provide – useful for those children who may need a voice, but also for widening children’s perspectives and understanding more generally. 

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  • Reading for pleasure

    Why reading for pleasure isn’t just for term time

    Deborah Maclaren, MD of LoveReading, LoveReading4Kids and LoveReading4Schools explains why reading isn’t just for term time and why it is important to encourage children and young people to read for pleasure over the summer break.

    Every teacher encourages their children and young people to read, in class and at home, but when the summer holidays come around, six full weeks off school, how can you encourage your children to not only continue reading, but continue reading for pleasure?

    When I was growing up, we weren’t a household with many books, but from the age of five, I fell in love with books - the characters, the illustrations, I was hooked! I was a regular at my local library and right through my formative years, I continued to read voraciously but didn’t really have any advice as to what I should read next.

    Each year thousands of children's books are published for all ages so it’s not often easy to recommend books – the choice is vast! At LoveReading4Kids and at LoveReading4Schools we feature our favourite books to help guide children, parents, and teachers across the country to books that will engage and excite.

    After much debate, here are some of the 2022 stars that could be great summer holiday reads – a selection of brilliant books for every age range, from primary through to teens.

    Primary recommendations

    Reception/ Year 1/ Year 2
    Marv and the Pool of Peril
    This 5+ age range is critical for the newly independent reader finding their feet. They’re starting to lose interest in picture books and want chapter books, but illustrations are key as full scary pages of text can be off putting. And Alex Falase-Koya delivers this in spades in Marv and the Pool of Peril, with a fast-paced adventure set at a
    waterpark birthday party. This action-packed story is lively and fun, and with cartoon illustrations on every page, it’s a delight for this age range!

    Year 3/ Year 4
    Neon’s Secret Universe
    Neon Gallop is trying to be as normal as she can when her family move home. But all her plans go wrong when a green lipstick found in goo opens the portal to the Universe! From Sibéal Pounder, the best-selling author of the fabulous Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series, this quirky fantasy tale will transport your young readers through the summer holidays.

    Year 5 / Year 6

    The Shark Caller
    Zillah Bethell was born in the shadow of the volcano Mount Lamington in Papua New Guinea. She grew up without shoes, toys or technology. Consequently, she spent a lot of time in the sea swimming and in canoes and we are glad she did as we join her, diving beneath the waves, with this spell-binding adventure of friendship,
    forgiveness and bravery, set on the shores of Papua New Guinea. I defy you to find anyone that has read The Shark Caller since it hit the shelves last year, and not adored it. A gripping and inspiring read.

    Secondary recommendations

    Year 7 - Year 11

    We Were Wolves
    The award-winning illustrator Jason Cockroft returns with a beautifully atmospheric book for 11+ readers, rich with symbolism and deep in the natural world. Readers will be captivated by the tale of Medal Boy, who lives alone in a caravan in the woods, while his dad is away in prison. Carefully handles themes of father-son bonds and PTSD with a powerful, artistic style.

    Oxygen Mask
    Our July 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month is an outstanding collaboration between Carnegie medal-winning Jason Reynolds and acclaimed artist Jason Griffin. Created to resemble a lined notebook – a written artefact of 2020 – Oxygen Mask connects the death of George Floyd with the rise of Covid, the grip of pollution and protesting victims of tear gas. Though anchored in the age of pandemic, this must-read has a timeless set of messages to share.

    Further Education recommendation

    Year 12 – Year 13

    If You Still Recognise Me
    Cynthia So’s compassionate debut is a sparkling story of queer fandom, finding love, and finding your tribe that explores issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and abusive relationships in a coming-of-age story with unexpected complications. Born in Hong Kong, and now based in London, So’s sweetly satisfying first book is sure to win the hearts of many a teenage reader.

    Happy holiday – and happy reading!

    Deborah Maclaren
    MD of LoveReading, LoveReading4Kids, LoveReading4Schools
    The LoveReading family — LoveReading, LoveReading4kids and LoveReading4Schools — a keen supporter of Pearson’s My Twist on a Tale writing competition, exists because reading matters, and books change lives.

    Reading for pleasure can have a significant impact on the outlook and interactions of entire communities. Pearson heavily supports the need for children and young people to read for pleasure.

    Find out more about Pearson’s Primary and Secondary resources.