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SLA Blog » March 2018RSS Feed RSS

The SLA blog contains news about the SLA and topical information of general interest to our members. The blog has been running since 2004. An RSS 2.0 feed and information about how to subscribe to the blog are available.

Older blog posts are still available, though archived, on the website, but please check the date at the top of the post to make sure the offer or information is likely to be valid.

Reading Blog: Resources for The Chosen Ones by Scarlett Thomas

This resource pack is based on The Chosen Ones, the second book in The
Worldquake Sequence from Scarlett Thomas
– author of Dragon’s Green.
It is a modern classic of adventure that will not only transport you away
from the classroom to the fantastical Otherworld, but also spark the
imaginations of all of the magical minds in your class (and yes, we know
there are many…)!

The lessons in this Pack serve as a mini scheme of work with literacy
objectives, providing material for four or more KS2 lessons – perfect
for classes of any ability in Years 5–6. The aim of these lessons is for the
children to improve their reading comprehension and inference skills –
taking their understanding of the text to a more sophisticated level.
So it’s time to pack your magical books and get ready for a reading
adventure. YOU are the chosen ones, and the journey starts here…
For more information about The Worldquake Sequence,

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Reading Blog: Q&A with Melvin Burgess, hosted by Hannah Kate at The Portico Library

Q&A with Melvin Burgess

19 April 2018, 6.30pm | The Portico Library, Manchester

IBBY UK and the Portico Library are pleased to present a Q&A session with author Melvin Burgess. A patron of The Portico Library, Melvin is an award-winning author of children's and young adult fiction. Often referred to as 'the godfather of teen fiction' by the British press, his novel Junk, published in 1996, was widely lauded for its realistic portrayal of youth, drugs and sex. He was nominated by the UK for the prestigious 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award, which is presented biennially by IBBY. Previous winners of the award have included Tove Jansson and David Almond.

The event will be chaired by Hannah Kate, a poet and short-story writer based in Manchester whose work has appeared in various national magazines. As well as an academic, she is a presenter for North Manchester FM radio station and the host of a popular literature show, Hannah's Bookshelf, every Saturday with various authors.

After an introduction and dialogue with Melvin Burgess, Hannah will open the floor to questions from the audience.

Book here.

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Reading Blog: BookLife gives away 3 million to UK primary schools

One of the country’s leading educational suppliers, BookLife, has set up a new scheme to support school libraries and help primary schools improve their literacy skills.
BookLife’s new Match Funding scheme offers varied reading material for children. They have allocated £3 million to give away to schools, sourcing books from 30 UK publishers. BookLife has over 3,000 products in their Match Funding catalogue covering all curriculum requirements, plus lots of fiction. The company saw that many primary schools were struggling to stock their school libraries and knew they had to help. Their scheme allows doubling on book resources, so for every pound a school spends with BookLife, they will receive another pound for free to spend on more school books and resources of their choice.
Currently, BookLife has given away over £2 million in the first three months and hope that they can help even more schools in the coming months. They have started to already see the benefits their scheme has been having with schools.

Our school is in a deprived area and it has always been our aim to provide a fantastic range of books to inspire our children to develop a love of reading. With BookLife's amazing Match Funding offer we have been able to expand our resources to further achieve this goal.” – Julie Jones, Orchards C of E Primary School.

The Match Funding scheme is open to all UK primary schools, large or small and with no minimum or maximum limits. This allows any school to ensure their budget is working efficiently to provide educational and fun books for pupils of all ages.
BookLife’s Match Funding scheme is running until 24 July 2018 and they advise schools to make use of it whilst they can. To find out more about Match Funding, go to

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Resources for auditing books

TES Strategies

TES has released a useful article on "Three strategies to engage primary pupils in reading".

One of the things is doing an audit of the books in your classroom – so here are two tables you can use to conduct an audit. These are available in a new section of our "Support for Primary Schools" pages: 
Audit of Books.

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SLA launches 2018 Member Survey


The SLA is keen for your opinions on how we are supporting you, and how we could do better. We would like to make informed decisions about how to move forward, which areas we could focus on and what we could improve on and we can only do that with your opinions at the very centre.

This survey is for members and non-members, so if you aren’t a member, but are involved in reading provision in school please answer as well. The survey is completely anonymous, so if it causes any questions to arise, please contact the office directly. It should take about 15 minutes to complete, so perhaps make a cup of something warm and help improve the SLA while you drink it. Thank you.

SLA 2018 Member Survey:

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Welcome to the SLA Website: Weekend Course booking is open!

Booking for the weekend course is open! It is going to be an amazing weekend in Glasgow with loads of brilliant speakers, including Yvonne Manning, Dr Dorothy Williams, Marc Lambert, Duncan Wright and Lari Don. More information and booking can be found here:

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Correction in The School Librarian

Lighthouse cover BelyaevOur apologies for a production error in Spring 2018 issue of The School Librarian which mistakenly confused the Russian and English language versions of "How Does a Lighthouse Work?" (p60). The review is for the Russian language edition of potential use to language students.

The correct publishing information for the Russian language edition of the book is:

Belyaev, Roman
Kak Rabotaet Maiak? (How Does a Lighthouse Work?)
Samokat, 2017, pp48, £19.50
978 5 9175 9581 8

The Russian edition is available from European Schoolbooks Ltd, which offers discounts to SLA members:

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Job Vacancies: Park View, North London - School Library Manager, Maternity Cover

Grade - S01 – Range £27,801 to £29,517 pro rata 

Fixed Term until 31st August 2018

Maternity Cover

Required ASAP

Park View is a high performing, diverse and inclusive community school in Tottenham, North London

We are looking for a candidate to be responsible for the organisation, management and development of the school’s Library to support learning, teaching and enrichment activities throughout the school.

To find out more or request an application pack please visit our website Alternatively contact Serita Shah on 0208 826 9178 / email: sshah[at]

Closing date for submission of applications is: 9.00am on Friday 9th March 2018

Interview Date: To Be Confirmed - W/C – 19th March 2018

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of our students. The successful candidate will be subject to an enhanced DBS check prior to appointment.

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Beyond Behaviour Management. An Introduction to Effective Engagement for Learning in the Secondary School Library: Penrith, Cumbria, 26 April 2018

Our course Beyond Behaviour Management. An Introduction to Effective Engagement for Learning in the Secondary School Library, run by Jerry Hurst, will be held at Eamont Room, Newton Rigg Conference Centre, Newton Rigg College, Newton Rigg, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0AH on 26 April 2018. The closing date is 10 April 2018. Bookings received by 29 March 2018 are eligible for a £15 discount.

Key Audience: secondary school library staff

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Reading Blog: Authors celebrate World Book Day by picking the books that impacted them

Authors including Julian Clary, Katherine Rundell and Holly Smale share the books which opened doors for them on World Book Day 


The authors have all taken part in Book Aid International’s ‘New Worlds Through Books’ campaign which celebrates the universal power of books to expand horizons and enrich lives. The charity asked participating authors to share a short piece or video about a book which opened a door to a new world for them. Over two weeks, the charity shared these insights, using them as a way to highlight the universal power of books to open doors and create positive change.


Julian Clary shared a video about his chosen book, saying: “Well, a book that opened doors for me was Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. I read it when I was, I suppose, 11 years old and I’d never been very adventurous until then but when I read about what they got up to in that book and the adventures they had on the boat, I thought ‘this is the sort of life I’m going to lead’. Watch Julian’s video here:


Geek Girl author Holly Smale shared how Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery turned up at exactly the right moment: “Anne became more than my friend: she was me, except just a few metres ahead. Showing me I could do it. When I tried to write my first adult novel… I wanted to give teenagers another friend: someone they could turn to when they had nobody else…who would let them know they were enough. Much like people, books come in and out of our lives… But every now and then, the right book finds the right person at the right time. And when it does? It’s a love that lasts forever.” Read Holly’s full contribution:   


Katherine Rundell selected Charmed Life by Diana Wynn Jones saying that it “was the kind of book that stretches the edges of your horizon; it made me see how strange and witty and valiantly, gloriously unhinged a book could be”.


Cerrie Burnell focused on Little Women by Louisa May Alcott saying the book was “like a doorway back into history learning about these women’s amazing lives. If I had read this book when I was little, it would definitely have given me the motivation to write about things that are important to me. So I think it’s a really beautiful lesson in finding books that inspire you, that encourage you to do great things in the world and that tell stories that are powerful and relevant.” See Carrie’s full contribution and watch her video:


Contributions all of the authors who took part in the campaign, including Elizabeth Wein, Hannah Russell, Jacqueline Wilson and Yaba Badoe, can be found at


Book Aid International’s Chief Executive, Alison Tweed, expressed the charity’s gratitude to the authors who took part: “I would like to extend a very warm thank you to all of the authors who contributed to our campaign. By lending their voices, they have helped to amplify the message that books have the power to enrich lives and expand horizons – and that everyone should have access to books, whatever their circumstances. Today, on World Book Day, we are very pleased to join in the global celebration of all the positive change that books and reading make possible.” 


Anyone who wishes to do so can share a story about a book which opened a door to a new world for them. Anyone can tweet a contribution [at]Book_aid, email worldbookday[at] or share to the charity’s Facebook page:

Book Aid International is a World Book Day supported charity. Every year UK schools and families mark World Book Day by donating £1 and dressing up as a favourite book character, by holding a fundraising event or by simply making a donation to mark the day. Last year, schools and families raised £140,000 – enough to send 70,000 books to those who need them. This year, the charity hopes to raise even more.


It costs just £2 to send a book, so every penny raised really does make a difference. To find out more about making Book Aid International part of your World Book Day celebrations, visit  

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Resources Blog: Read Write Inc Open Days

On 19 March a selection of 'Model Schools' in the UK are inviting headteachers and literacy leads to attend an open day to see the Read Write Inc. education programme in practice. Attendees can find out how the programme, published by Oxford University Press, can improve literacy and help to decrease the 'word gap' between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers.  

 The open day will take place on Monday 19 March in Caerphilly, Cornwall, Derby, Norfolk, Romford, Wokingham, Birmingham and East Sussex at 'Model Schools' for Read Write Inc., and will be open to all headteachers and literacy leads in the local area. At the open day visitors can expect to find out how the Read Write Inc. programme is implemented in their schools and see the benefits of the programme and it is improving literacy. During the day, visitors will be able to observe lessons, meet other schools in the area, get advice on how to implement the programme and see the positive impact on behaviour across the school. 

 One of the highlight factors of Read Write Inc. schools is that they are talk-a-lot schools where speaking and listening skills are developed through partner work. By developing children’s vocabulary, Read Write Inchelps to address problems associated with the ‘word gap’, recently highlighted by the government’s Department for Education single departmental plan. 

The ‘word gap’ has been identified in children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who by the age of 3 are on average almost a full year and a half behind their more affluent peers in language development. In the report the DoE make recommendations on how to eliminate the 'word gap' through education in order to improve social mobility and equality of opportunity, the Read Write Inc. programme is in line with this.

  “Our Model Schools demonstrate an inspirational passion and excitement for teaching. Their attention to detail and focus on continuous professional development
marks them out and is the key to their success in getting every child to read by 6. No child should get left behind and with the right teaching and assessments we can ensure

every child is understood and the gaps in their knowledge identified and addressed.”

Ruth Miskin, Creator of Read Write Inc.

 For more information on which schools are taking part and to book a place at one of the schools teachers can visit this webpage:

 Or for booking enquiries please email oxfordprimaryevents[at]                               

For more information, images or to speak to one of the experts at OUP Education please contact publicist: Laura Smythe m: 07881555530 or email: laurasmythecontact[at]

 Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP t: 01865 354579 Twitter: [at]OUPPrimary Facebook: [at]oxfordeducationuk

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