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May meanderings

Secondary School 2A round-up of recent news and announcements that have landed in my inbox from partners and colleagues – I hope you find them useful and informative!

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) runs the Children’s Poetry Award which is the only award in the UK for published children’s poetry.  Established in 2003, the annual Poetry Award encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. CLPE are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2015 CLPE Poetry Award:

  • Mandy Coe (editor): Let in the Stars, illustrated by The Manchester School of Art, The Manchester Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University.  An anthology in which a wide range of themes is combined with the unconventional unfolding of individual poems.  Unexpected points of view abound and contemporary language is considered in several poems.
  • Joseph Coelho: Werewolf Club Rules, illustrated by John O’Leary, Frances Lincoln.  A fresh collection of poems from a new voice which celebrates the joys of everyday life and beyond and displays a delight in language.
  • Georgie Horrell, Aisha Spencer and Morag Styles (editors): Give the Ball to the Poet.  A new anthology of Caribbean Poetry, illustrated by Jane Ray, Commonwealth Education Trust.  A celebration of Caribbean culture and environment is threaded throughout this vibrant anthology alongside the anger and sorrow begotten of the interdependent history of migration, slavery and exploitation between the Caribbean and Britain.
  • Hilda Offen: Blue Balloons and Rabbit Ears, Troika Books.  An appealing collection for young children, illustrated by the poet.  Full of fun and rhyme and rhythm and a variety of verse forms, it includes thoughtful themes about nature and history too.
  • Rachel Rooney: My Life as a Goldfish and other poems, illustrated by Ellie Jenkins, Frances Lincoln. These succinct poems, sometimes darkly humorous and incorporating delicious wordplay, are lessons in how economy of words can lead the imagination to soar.

The winner of the 2015 Award will be announced on July 16th 2015 at a ceremony in the new Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre in London. There will be poetry performances by children and the poets and the winner of the Award will receive £1000.

For the first time CLPE is running a shadowing scheme to involve schools in the Poetry Award 2015. This is a great opportunity for primary schools to enhance their literacy curriculum in a fresh and exciting way. As part of the shadowing scheme, a competition will see children from winning schools invited to perform on stage at the Award ceremony. All schools, regardless of whether they are participating in the shadowing scheme, can take poetry into the classroom supported by high quality free resources including films of shortlisted poets performing, the poets talking about their work and accompanying teaching resources. These will be available on CLPE’s Poetryline website

Check out the Puffin Virtually Live website - a series of free interactive webcasts from Puffin's bestselling authors. On this website you can find a selection of previous webcasts which you can watch on-demand, as well as details of forthcoming webcasts.  You just need to register to take part.

The Reading Agency has worked with colleagues across the sector to develop an electronic schools pack for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. The pack is designed to provide activity ideas around the Record Breakers theme, support librarians’ visits to schools but also support libraries where there is no longer capacity for these school visits. The pack links to relevant websites and to further downloadable schools resources on the Reading Agency website. Tips and resources for how to inspire whole-school engagement as well as family engagement with the Challenge are also included. The pack is now available online for both library staff and schools. 

National Schools Partnership is promoting Into Film’s new Guide to Creating Effective Reviews, for Primary and Secondary. Both are perfect English boosters or revision activities for the summer term and offer a great way to motivate students’ writing by encouraging expression of personal opinion and individual voice.  Teachers can download the free guide for accessible activities to use in the classroom and for film clubs.

And finally… Good news from the National Literacy Trust - Reading levels hit nine year high as record numbers of children enjoy reading every day.  There has been a dramatic increase in the number of children who read every day, according to new research by the National Literacy Trust. However, many parents appear to be unaware of how vital their support is for their children’s reading and the gender gap is growing between girls’ and boys’ reading.

  • Levels of reading enjoyment continue to improve. 54.4% of children and young people enjoy reading either very much or quite a lot. 35.5% only enjoy reading a bit and 10% do not enjoy reading at all.
  • Levels of daily reading also continue to increase – dramatically. Between 2013 and 2014 there was a 28.6% increase in the number of children and young people who read daily outside class, rising from 32.2% in 2013 to 41.1% in 2014. 

Read the full report on their website.

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