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Resources Blog » Recent PostsRSS Feed RSS

The SLA Resources Blog is designed to highlight new resources which we at the SLA think may be of interest to school librarians and to others working in related fields. The blog is available at and can also be read via an RSS feed at

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.

2Simple Serial Mash Writers Competition

Educational Software Company, 2Simple, are teaming up with children’s author, Jonny Zucker to run their first ever Serial Mash Writers Competition for users of the online library. With the chance of winning prizes, the competition starts by asking children to read the first chapter of two new KS2 Serial Mash books to inspire them to write the second chapter of one or both of the stories.

Taking place during the Summer 2 Term, primary school children will have the opportunity to work together as a school, class or individually on Jonny Zucker’s ‘The Beast from Below’ and ‘Thieves in the Night’ stories. Schools subscribed to Serial Mash will receive a ‘Writers Pack’ which will include Jonny Zucker’s ‘Big Tips for Little Authors’ to encourage pupils to think creatively and express themselves confidently. To open up the competition to as many children as possible 2Simple are also offering a free extended trial of Serial Mash through the whole of the Summer 2 Term.

Children’s author, Jonny Zucker, said: “The Serial Mash Writers Competition is a chance for children to push their imaginations to the limit. They can be as creative and as adventurous as they want. They can work collaboratively in small or large groups to share ideas and use their friend’s thoughts to build on their own. If they have access, they can plan and map story ideas using 2Connect on Purple Mash, another of 2Simple’s fantastic software tools.”

The winning chapter will be published inside Serial Mash and read by millions of children and teachers around the world. They will also receive £150 to spend on reading and writing resources and there will be prizes for runners up as well. Plus, every participating school will be entered into a ‘bonus’ prize draw with the lucky winner becoming the setting of a brand new Serial Mash book.

Traditional writers can submit their entry by paper, or for the more digital savvy, there is the option of using a ‘Publishing Template’ inside Serial Mash. There is a maximum of three entries per school and the deadline is Saturday 20 June 2015.
For more information, visit:


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Paddington resources for primary schools!

Into Film have created a fun, easy to use resource for Primary teachers based on the charming British adventure film, Paddington. The resource will be available to teachers registering for a new Into Film Club before the Easter break.

Fun activities in the resource support curriculum areas including literacy, geography, art and design, whilst carefully selected clips and images from Paddington enable pupils to explore the film’s themes of individuality and acceptance. This flexible and exciting resource comes in pdf format with supporting PowerPoint.

As well as this comprehensive resource, new Into Film club leaders will receive for free:

  • Access to a huge bank of learning and teaching materials that use film to engage learners across all core curriculum subjects
  • Access to a library of 4,000 DVDs, including Paddington*, to use in class, for after-school clubs, for lunchtime film clubs and more

What do I do next?
before Friday 20th March to get your free resource for your class and become part of a growing movement of teachers who use film to engage and excite pupils. 

Click here to register

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Chatterbooks training

ChatterbooksChatterbooks are holding a training day at Exeter Library on Thursday 19 March.  If anyone is interested in attending, they can find out more from the Reading Agency website.  It’s a great way to share ideas for successful Chatterbooks sessions with colleagues, and find out all the ways you can support children taking part.  We are also introducing a section on running inclusive Chatterbooks groups.  Barrington Stoke CEO Mairi Kidd will be attending to talk about books for children with dyslexia, and we will share tips and resources to support children with reading difficulties taking part in Chatterbooks.
Participants will also leave with a handbook in a ring binder, and some publisher goodies, to help boost start their Chatterbooks groups!  To book, or for any queries, do contact

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Young Classics Champions 

OUP ClassicsDo you have a potential Classics Champion in your school? We are looking for young Classics Champions for the next new books in our Oxford Children's Classics range - Heidi and The Hound of the Baskervilles. To enter, pupils simply need to submit a short review of the book. Winners will get their review published in the book itself, win £100 worth of books for your school, as well as a stack of the book to share with their friends.

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June Webcast news

JWilsonFans from all over the world will also be able to connect with Jacqueline Wilson and send in their questions as she participates in one of the very successful Puffin Virtually Live webcasts in June – register at for updates.


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Primary French

Into FilmNational Schools Partnership and Into Film are offering a fun, helpful resource pack that supports primary-level French to teachers who sign up for a film club.  Teachers can use film to boost children’s confidence in French and support language learning in their school with this resource, and the first 100 registrants will receive a free DVD of A Cat in Paris.

You don’t need to be a French teacher to use this resource as it offers advice, top tips, language-focussed activity ideas, dual language activity sheets and a recommended viewing list of films which will support language learning.  As well as this valuable pdf resource, teachers will receive for free:

  • A DVD copy of Academy Award® nominated animation A Cat in Paris to screen as a half-term treat or at your first Into Film Club screening for the first 100 registrants
  • Access to a huge bank of learning and teaching materials that use film to engage learners across all core curriculum subjects
  • Access to a library of 4,000 DVDs to use in class, for after-school clubs, for lunchtime film clubs and more

Teachers can sign up to receive the resource on the website.


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January Update

Bett15smallCheck out the winners of the BETT 2015 awards – one of them may be just what you have been waiting for.  Meanwhile, if you have a free Saturday and fancy heading down to London the BETT show is open all day.

Sky News have a new dynamic digital platform for students to engage with as well as for teachers to download resources from called Stand Up Be Counted which looks at current affairs and aims at enhancing participation in the upcoming elections in May.

All the resources you need to run the Stan Lee Excelsior Award  and SLEA Junior are now available to download from the websites. Posters, Rating Forms, JABBICA Forms, Sticky Labels - all can now be downloaded as PDF documents. There's also a new poll about Batman on the Stan Lee Excelsior Award website's homepage (just a bit of fun!).

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Lovereading4schools - Encouraging children to read for pleasure.

Kids GroupHelping teachers and parents encourage children to love reading a variety of books throughout the school year, is the reason Lovereading4schools was created. Part of the Lovereading and Lovereading4kids family, the website offers teachers an easy, impartial and free way to create and share reading lists with their parents and pupils, offering age appropriate books as well as themed collections of titles.

Lovereading4schools is endorsed by Jacqueline Wilson and all titles are selected by Julia Eccleshare MBE, the children’s book editor for The Guardian.  There are fiction, non-fiction, poetry, fact and activity books, all of which have been shortlisted for awards or have proven over the years to be children’s classics. Lists are arranged by school year, ranging from Reception to Year 9 and onwards through teenage years. There are also specialist categories for Reluctant and Dyslexic Readers from the publisher, Barrington Stoke. These particular collections really make a difference to those who struggle with their reading and can be an ideal allocation of pupil premium. They provide gripping storylines and manageable chapter lengths, as well as sympathetic fonts and chapter lengths.

All the lists provide a foundation upon which to build your schools recommended reading lists. You can add or delete from them, adding personal favourites or books that compliment class topics, plus many librarians find the specialist topics useful for creating library displays and themed collections. Each title is displayed with a book cover image, a downloadable extract, author information and comments, plus parents can purchase any of the books direct at discounted prices of up to 25%.

Once your lists are created, they can be shared by sending out your unique URL to your parents so they can link directly to your schools book list page. There are also many resources to inform and promote your lists to parents on our site, from letter templates to posters and web banners that help spread the love of reading.  As well as the service being free for schools and offering discounted prices on all the books features, there is the added bonus that 5% of the money spent by parents on the website comes back to the school as book vouchers to help build the library. Many schools also use our lists to build their library collections too.

One school that has been successfully using Lovereading4schools for several years now is The Schools at Somerhill in Kent. You can read about the thoughts and experiences of Mrs Susan Smith, the Prep School Librarian, here.  

To find out more or to set up your schools account with Lovereading4schools, please visit

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