Thursday, 14 December 2017

Christmas Reading

As Christmas draws closer and our holidays loom large, many of us think about a good book to take away on holiday with us to read and relax with. Some of us specifically enjoy a 'trashy novel', the sort that we perhaps would not normally enjoy, but the mood and context makes it fun.

Our children are no different. They too enjoy the appropriate equivalent of a 'trashy novel', although it may be in the form of a comic or a book that parents consider to be 'too easy' for their child to read.
My advice and actually my plea, is to let them enjoy reading whatever they want to these holidays.

Reading comics does not inhibit literacy development, in fact, it can even enhance it! Some of our reluctant readers need a hook to pull them in to the joy of reading. Comics can do this. Elley (1994) investigated the relationship between comic reading and reading achievement in 9 &10 year olds across 27 countries. The findings confirmed that comics can have a positive impact on reading, which is counter to some widely held views to the contrary.

What about books that you may consider too easy for your child? Again, the evidence seems to suggest that light to easy reading provides the competence and motivation to continue reading and to read more harder books. This makes sense- after all, all of us enjoy becoming good at something and increasing the challenge is often a part of that pleasure.

So, pop a comic into your child's stocking this Christmas and watch them love reading it. Hopefully sitting alongside you reading your trashy holiday novel!

Happy holidays everyone!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Rediscovering the joy of stories

Recently, I upgraded my iPhone 4 to an iPhone8. Probably, within that very first sentence, you have already formed an opinion of how up to date I am with technology in my personal life. However, I should have perhaps have said that I reverted to my iPhone 4 after my much newer phone, bought to replace it, died.

With this new phone, it suddenly seems that a world previously denied to me, mainly because I was not able to update the old phone with newer apps, was suddenly opened up, including access to podcasts.

So I have joined the throngs of the permanently connected, walking around Central, catching a bus, riding in a taxi, with my buds in my ears listening to the dulcet tones of an experienced reader, telling stories which have enchanted and enraptured me.

I love this new world of storytelling, I love the spoken word and I love the way in which being told a story, previously the domain of children, is now available to me as an adult.

It has made me reflect on how this pleasure, instilled as children, never leaves us. It has reminded me about the importance of introducing our children to the joy of the spoken word and how comforting it is to settle down and just...listen.

For me now,  it is my grand children I am reading to. Not for them the technology of a podcast, but instead the delight of a book,
read to just them. We have our old favourites, read time after time and now we even make reference to the story at other times as well. One of our favourite stories refers to going on an escalator as 'climbing a mountain' and so that it what we say when we get on one. It is like an inside joke that we share together and helps them to make connections to the bigger and wider world around them.

Night time routines are something most of us follow when organising our children into bed. If you don't already, I would definitely encourage you to make a story part of this. Of course, stories are great anytime, even when walking along Central!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Social media- friend or foe?

Image result for images social mediaWe have been having quite a lot of discussion in school about the role of social media in our school. It has become the norm for communicating and we need to add this method to our communication strategies. I have no issues with this, in fact I am driving this consideration and posing the question. In talking with teachers though, it is clear that it can be a hot potato if not handled correctly.

So my dilemma is how to do this in a way that promotes our school and learning, while not opening myself or the school up to destructive comments or feedback. I have considered joining some of the social media groups that are out there that regularly discuss schools, in order to be able to comment- or more likely, correct false information. I have seen quite recently a comment by a Bradbury parent (?) that contained some misinformation (note to self- communicate with the community more clearly on the issue) However, another parent (?) kindly stepped in and corrected the misinformation.
 (☺Thank you) So, I guess I don't need to do this.

I have thought about starting a Facebook page- however, our PTA already has one, so do we need two? Maybe we can add some more school things to that instead of creating a completely new one. I do like the idea of sharing our great learning in an informal way- but then, you run into the problem of 'do we post photos of students?'

Our website is an ESF template and cannot be changed- except in colour. So does that just leave Twitter? Maybe.

What I do know is that we can't continue to have a silent social media voice. Any ideas out there would be really helpful.