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Resources Blog » May 2017RSS 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.

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

Engaging Girls in STEM

Inspired by Space Engaging Girls In STEM Statistics CHK 2017 3Curved House Kids launch a free guide to engaging girls in STEM to mark the 26th anniversary of British astronaut Helen Sharman’s historic space mission

Twenty-six years ago, astronaut Helen Sharman became the first Brit in space, and the first woman to visit the Mir space station. Dr Sharman beat 13,000 hopefuls to the post after responding to a radio advertisement requesting “Astronaut Applications. No experience necessary”. Sharman’s mission was, and still is, a remarkable moment for both British history and for women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It is also a timely reminder of the urgent need to promote and encourage girls into STEM careers. Two and a half decades on and achievements like Dr Sharman’s are still all too rare.

In the UK, women make up just 21% of the entire STEM workforce (WISE Campaign, 2016, Meanwhile, there is a serious skills crisis across every part of the STEM sector with an estimated shortfall of 69,000 recruits every year. This is costing billions and putting the UK at a significant disadvantage, especially post-Brexit. However, we have a solution right in front of us: the tens of thousands of female students each year who are choosing not to pursue STEM careers. These girls are more than capable of contributing to the STEM sector – and the UK economy – but they are not choosing STEM careers. An education pipeline published by the WISE Campaign last year highlights the diminishing rates: 50% of girls do GCSE science, 34% continue into A-Level and just 7% go into higher education. That is in stark contrast to the 24% of boys at the same education level.

Inspired by Space: Engaging Girls in STEM, published today by Curved House Kids, is a guide for teachers and educators that aims to not only engage primary-aged girls but also to embed a genuine and lasting interest in science. It provides easy-to-implement ideas for both the classroom and home learning. Written and compiled by primary educator and science specialist Claire Loizos with Curved House Kids publisher Kristen Harrison, it details five strategies to help girls succeed in STEM learning, including harnessing skills like communication, collaboration and creativity. Each strategy is accompanied by a number of adaptable activities for teachers to use in the classroom and beyond.

The guide draws heavily on the learning and feedback from the Principia Space Diary, a primary science programme that now has over 90,000 British students registered to complete their own diary as they follow ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission. Developed by Curved House Kids with author and science communicator Lucy Hawking, the Space Diary highlights the roles of many influential women in the space and science sectors. These include Dr Helen Sharman, astronomer Sheila Kanani and Tim Peake’s Mission Director Berti Meisinger, who are featured in the guide.  

The goal is to help primary-aged girls to see themselves in STEM careers – whether it’s as astronauts, scientists, mathematicians, coders or any other role. They also aim to ensure girls in STEM are visible and celebrated by peers, family and the wider community. Publisher Kristen Harrison stresses that this guide is not just for girls and promotes the use of these ideas with all students. ‘True equality is not just about giving girls opportunities,’ Harrison says. ‘It's about developing empathy in all students to ensure we are all open to female voices and appreciate the benefits of diversity.’

The hope is this guide will help teachers to implement new ideas without adding hours of workloads. Teacher Claire Loizos says: ‘I have found that open tasks that require children to “learn on their feet” and choose their own methods of application have worked wonders at encouraging girls to take ownership of their own learning, with huge increases in enjoyment and progress. The ideas and activities in this guide bear this in mind, providing minimal teacher input and maximum pupil effort, encouraging independence whilst allowing girls to be creative.’

Inspired by Space: Engaging Girls in STEM is available from the Principia Space Diary website and is free to download.

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CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017

CLiPPA Shortlist Credit Michael Thorn
CLiPPA Shortlist Credit Michael Thorn

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) is delighted to announce the 2017 shortlist for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (CLiPPA). Established in 2003, CLiPPA encourages and celebrates outstandeing poetry published for children. 2017 is the 15th anniversary of the award, which remains the only annual award in the UK for published poetry for children.

This year’s shortlist truly celebrates the breadth and depth of poetry for children being published in the UK. From the early years appeal of Zim Zam Zoom! by James Carter to the verse novel for older readers, Booked by Kwame Alexander; from Kate Wakeling’s debut collection for children Moon Juice, to Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots by long-time favourite and previous CLiPPA winner Michael Rosen; and from single poet collections to the celebratory anthology Wonderland, Alice in Poetry edited by Michaela Morgan..  

The full shortlist is:

  • Kwame Alexander: Booked, Andersen Press - A free verse novel, written in the voice of 12 year old soccer-loving boy.
  • James Carter: Zim Zam Zoom!, illustrated by Nicola Colton, Otter-Barry Books - Perfectly pitched for the young listener or early reader with plenty of opportunities for joining in.
  • Michaela Morgan (editor): Wonderland; Alice in Poetry, Macmillan - Anthology celebrating the spirit of Wonderland with each poet bringing their own refreshing spin.
  • Michael Rosen: Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots, illustrated by David Tazzyman, Bloomsbury - Quirky, clever poems from those that involve humorous misunderstandings to thoughtful and more intimate musings.
  • Kate Wakeling: Moon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa, The Emma Press - A debut collection of poetry that presents magical, strange and unlikely events in a confident and persuasive way.

Rachel Rooney, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2017 Judges commented: “Judging was made a challenge by the spread of books that were submitted as the CLiPPA is open to published poetry books for a diverse and changing readership, from the pre-schooler to the early teen. Writing poetry for children can appear easy but writing powerful poetry that is accessible and appealing to children is considerably more difficult to achieve. In their own particular way, all the shortlisted books did this.” Watch Rachel announcing the shortlist

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “This year we celebrate 15 years of the Poetry Award with the largest number of submissions for many years and an award show where we will have more than 1000 children in the audience. We are delighted that the power of the poetic form is being recognised so widely by schools and by publishers and that thousands of children will discover the wonderful books on this shortlist through our Poetryline resources and our shadowing scheme.”

The judging panel is chaired by the poet and CLiPPA 2012 winner, Rachel Rooney along with Sarah Crossan, poet and CLiPPA 2016 joint winner for One, Caleb Femi, poet and the Young People's Laureate for London, Charlotte Hacking, CLPE Learning Programme Leader and Imogen Russell Williams, children’s book critic and editorial consultant. Children's Laureate, Chris Riddell, will live draw the Award Ceremony.

The winner of the 2017 Award will be announced on July 14th 2017 at a special ceremony celebrating 15 years of the CLiPPA Poetry Award in the 1000+-seater Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre in London.  The audience will enjoy poetry performances from children participating in the Shadowing Scheme, the shortlisted poets and special poet appearances. The winner of the Award will receive £1000 and a specially bound edition of their book created by the bookbinder Mark Cockram.

The free Shadowing Scheme to involve schools in the Poetry Award 2017 is now open. In 2016 over 3900 children participated in the Shadowing Scheme and this year it is set to be even more successful with a record number of pre-registrations. The Shadowing Scheme gives children an opportunity to enjoy literacy with tremendous vigour and high expectations. Exploring and performing poetry demonstrates how children can work to high standards and still enjoy a thrilling experience that will remain with them for a long time. Watch Young Person’s Laureate for London, Caleb Femi open the Shadowing Scheme

As part of the Shadowing Scheme, a competition will see children from winning schools invited to perform on stage at the Award Ceremony. Schools are also invited to apply for tickets to attend the Award Ceremony which will encompass a Poetry Show with all the shortlisted poets.  All schools, regardless of whether they are participating in the Shadowing Scheme, can take poetry into the classroom supported by free high quality resources including films of shortlisted poets performing and accompanying teaching resources; available on CLPE’s Poetryline website

For further information about the award, the shadowing scheme or the shortlisted books please visit

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