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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 https://www.sla.org.uk/resources-blog.php and can also be read via an RSS feed at https://www.sla.org.uk/sla-resources-rss.php.

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.

Browns are Bringing Literacy Resources to You!

Feedback from customers has found the decline in showrooms, reduced resources and time restraints a challenge for literacy co-ordinators sourcing educational content for students.

Browns Books for Students have endeavoured to find a solution to provide as many physical books as possible, including our handpicked collections and newly published titles directly to our customers.

Browns Books for Students have created a Mobile Educational Book Showroom in a double decker bus! Stocked with over 4000 books for the educational sectors.

Our Book Bus is an Alexander ALX400 low-floor Double Decker with a 2002 Dennis Trident 2 chassis that has been completely refurbished and customised to our unique requirements. Measuring 10.5metres long, 2.55metres wide and 4.4metres tall and fitted with an external awning, creating an amazing 50 sq. metre mobile experience.

The lower level of the bus is fitted with two electronic meeting spaces, with live terminals to research titles or receive demonstrations on our online ordering platform or our eBook platform, VLeBooks.

The top deck has been transformed into a mobile showroom with 17 bespoke shelves displaying over 4000 physical books.  We also have 8 electronic displays providing additional information on the content and educational resources.

With mobile stock scanners, users can enjoy browsing the books and scan titles to create selections. Utilise the ordering terminals to review selections and place orders, which are available to be dispatched the same day, or serviced to your bespoke requirements and arrive shelf ready for your library.


Getting Everyone Involved!

Why not have students or library representatives on our Book Bus to put together selections that both themselves and their peers consider of interest; and would like to see in their library?

We strongly believe that if patrons of their libraries feel connected and involved in selecting the content for the libraries, they will utilise the library service even more.

Anyone can use a stock scanner to create their selections for you to review and decide whether to purchase.

On board collections will provide Department Heads and Literacy co-ordinators an effective resource to compare and review teaching resources in one place. No need to see multiple reps, no travel, or biased heavy selling.


Bringing Literacy Resources to You!

We believe that accessibility to books is crucial and our Book Bus will give the opportunity not only to major cities, but to assist rural communities and educational establishments who are not fortunate to have a static bookstore/showroom.

Our Book Bus will give access to content on site, creating an exciting and unique experience whereby everyone can get involved in viewing titles and adding new stock into schools and community libraries.


For more information:

THE BOOK BUS Browns Books for Students, 22-28 George Street, Hull HU1 3AP, Marketing Manager: Nic Hales Tel 01482 384660 - Email nic.hales[at]brownsbfs.co.uk - brownsbfs.co.uk

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: https://global.oup.com/education/content/primary/series/rwi/model-schools-open-morning/?region=uk


Or for booking enquiries please email oxfordprimaryevents[at]oup.com  



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]gmail.com


Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP t: 01865 354579

www.oxfordprimary.co.uk/readwriteinc Twitter: [at]OUPPrimary Facebook: [at]oxfordeducationuk

BookTrust announces new books for Bookbuzz 2018 programme

Bookbuzz is a reading programme that supports schools to encourage reading for pleasure. The programme is suitable for schoolchildren aged 11 - 13, regardless of their reading ability or learning needs.

The 17 books, carefully selected by our panel of experts, ensures the programme is fully inclusive and offers something for every student. It is designed to be flexible and work alongside the English Department’s existing reading strategy. Bookbuzz offers students the element of choice, allowing them to find the right book for them and get excited about books and reading. For more information please read the information document at the end of the news post. 

Bookbuzz titles to choose from:

  • Amazing Animals by Guinness World Records

  • Shadowsmith by Ross MacKenzie

  • Accidental Superstar by Marianne Levy

  • Bus Stop Baby by Fleur Hitchcock

  • Defenders: Killing Ground by Tom Palmer

  • Boris Babysits by Sam Lloyd

  • The Mystery of Me by Karen McCombie

  • Sky Dancer by Gill Lewis

  • Car-Jacked by Ali Sparkes

  • Zebra Crossing Soul Song by Sita Brahmachari

  • Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by Chris Riddell

  • The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

  • Chasing Danger by Sara Grant

  • The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

  • The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens

  • Haunt: Dead Scared by Curtis Jobling

  • Oi Frog! by Kes Gray & Jim Field

For more information: 

Press Release_Get year 7s and 8s excited about reading again

Word document, 337 kB

Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later

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History of Women Schools Prize

In time for International Women's Month, the Women's History Network is launching a new Schools' Prize for a Women's History Display in a school or college.

Women history prize

Taking the 2018 theme, #PressforProgress, they are inviting pupils or students to create a display to celebrate women who worked to #PressforProgress - it can be any women, in any field - local heroines or international figures - the choice is up to you!

The prize is £50 for the class and a signed copy of A History or Women in 100 Objects by Maggie Andrews & Janis Lomas.

Details of how to apply can be found at http://womenshistorynetwork.org

Deadline is 1 May 2018.

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Innovative primary STEM programme makes 15,000 free books available to schools in the UK’s most deprived areas

Lucy Hawking and Curved House Kids today launch Mars Diary, an ambitious new primary science programme, in partnership with the UK Space Agency, that aims to get 60,000 British schoolchildren involved in the UK’s ExoMars mission and other human and robotic space endeavours. At the core of the Mars Diary programme is an illustrated activity book that students personalise as they complete a range of creative, empowering STEM activities. Teachers are supported with lesson plans, teaching notes, differentiation ideas, multimedia and detailed curriculum links for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

With the support of the UK Space Agency, 15,000 free Mars Diary books will be made available to primary schools across the UK with priority given to those in areas of high levels of deprivation and education under-achievement. Five thousand of these will be distributed to teachers via ESERO-UK and STEM Learning. To ensure full access to these high-quality materials, all UK primary schools will also have free online access to the entire programme including over 60 hours of lessons for Key Stage 2 (P4-7 / Y3-6).

Mars Diary is a sequel to the hugely popular Principia Space Diary, one of ESA Astronaut Tim Peake’s education outreach projects that has inspired over 95,000 British schoolchildren since its launch in 2015. Watch Tim Peake’s welcome message to the “brave space explorers” who will embark on the Mars Diary programme. The video is available in our Media Kit:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/aep737zkh5c7dto/AABC-JNLnNJ5kPOu21wCaWdja?dl=0
The Mars Diary has been written and developed by Lucy Hawking and Curved House Kids with a strong emphasis on creativity and visual learning. Students will be inspired by real space, STEM and education experts including Sue Horne and Libby Jackson from the UK Space Agency Exploration team, volcanologist Professor Tamsin Mather, Mars weather expert Professor Stephen Lewis, Pamela Burnard, Professor of Arts, Creativities and Education at the University of Cambridge and robotics expert Professor Peter McOwan at Queen Mary University of London.

From Thursday 22nd February primary schools in the UK are invited to register at marsdiary.org for a chance to receive a free box of 30 Mars Diaries plus stickers and a Mission Log poster for their class. Books will be allocated to schools on a first come, first served basis with priority given to those who have a high percentage of free school meals.

Other schools, home educating families and community groups can also register to access the free online programme, or purchase copies of the printed diaries via the online bookshop at marsdiary.org. Books will be delivered late-March. If the popularity of the Principia Space Diary is any indication, schools are encouraged to register fast to avoid missing out on printed books.  

The programme is fully supported, flexible and can be completed at any time during the school year. Particular emphasis has been placed on making the complex topic of space science easy for any teacher to confidently deliver, giving them the tools to inspire children to read, write, draw, research, experiment and problem solve while strengthening STEM, literacy and visual literacy learning. The multi-modal approach to learning means students use a wide range of analogue and digital media to complete their tasks: from videos, tablets and phones to images and audio.

The Mars Diary programme is funded by the UK Space Agency, as part of a scheme to support education outreach associated with the ExoMars mission, which is sending a rover to Mars in 2020 to look for evidence of life on The Red Planet.

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Spyquest offer

Author David Goutcher is passionate about encouraging kids to read using a mixture of books and technology. His Spy Quest books have interactive components included in them that can be accessed via an app to bring the stories into the real world. You can see a video showing how the AR works here . The latest Spy Quest book Cursed Diamond includes augmented reality and allows readers to read the book and watch a movie too. 

Many schools have had great success in using the books with reluctant readers and report that their students have loved the marriage of physical and digital media. As part of a special offer to School Library Association members David has agreed that for  any bookings for school visits 

Spyquest 2

before the end of February quoting SLA offer he will create a Spy Quest game specific to your school free of charge (the games work in a similar way to the hugely popular Pokemon Go app). The day will be extremely interactive with students taking part in challenges and working together to solve mysteries. Reviews of David's school visits are overwhelmingly glowing, as you can see from this Storify and the visits can be tied in with many subjects making them truly cross curricular. If you are interested in booking a visit please contact David via email david.goutcher[at]polybiusgames.com.

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The Day Explorer offer

The Day Explorer is an online curriculum-based resource for primary schools. Every week, articles and cartoon strips on current affairs are published , allowing students to truly engage with the world around them.

TDE Logo

The British values page curates articles and activities that enhance schools' British values provision. The tailored content helps teachers cover the difficult topics of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and religious tolerance.

SLA members who subscribe by December 31st will receive 3 months of free usage in their first year. To find out more, call 0207 300 7316 or email enquiries[at]thedayexplorer.co.uk.

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Expenses only author visit offer - Joffre White

Author Joffre White gives his opinion on the importance of libraries and librarians:

'I can rant on and on about the importance of libraries, particularly of school libraries.I can shout about how it is a disgrace that it is not a legal requirement for EVERY school to have an up to date library, well stocked and managed by a  librarian whose role is to motivate, inspire and guide our young people into finding and reading books, comics and magazines that give them pleasure, and knowledge, and fills their lives with wonder and possibilities.

 I can continue to sign petitions and voice my disapproval at the inept politicians and county councils, and the blinkered governors and short-sighted principals and leadership teams in some of our schools who decide that a properly run school library is not worth adequate funding. 

 I can do this and more, adding my voice to the other authors, illustrators, poets, librarians, parents and young people who show their concern and dismay at the erosion of what should be the beating heart of every school. A well run and well used library should be an essential requirement - NOT AN OPTION!

But, I’ve found that the thing that gives me the most hope is when I visit a school and meet a librarian who hasn’t had the enthusiasm and creativity knocked out of them, when I walk into a school library and the displays, the inventiveness, and the buzz of the pupils says to me – ‘This is OUR library and it’s here to stay!’ 

When I can hear and see the power of that librarian reflected in the pupils and students, that’s when I know that there’s hope. That’s why I love visiting schools and having the opportunity to promote the importance of school libraries, of reading for pleasure and for knowledge. To get young people excited about finding their book, maybe the first book that they’ve ever picked up, a book that could change their lives. 

I am privileged to be an Author and a Patron of Reading – I think that all schools should have a partnership with an author, an illustrator, a poet, a story teller, together we can fight the system from within and inspire and excite more and more young people to become passionate about reading and to appreciate the value of their library and their librarian. Then, whenever this resource is threatened, there will be more and more voices to oppose any ridiculous notion that libraries and librarians are an ill afforded luxury.

As a professional author, I have visited hundreds of schools and colleges across the UK, and what angers me the most is the disparity, the lack of consistency and quality given to the value of a school library – every parent, every carer should expect the same high standard of library resource WHEREVER they place their child or children in a school.

‘But what about funding?’ I hear some people say. I appreciate that school budgets are squeezed along with many other institutions, but in this instance, it comes down to imbalanced, personal priorities. Why is it that I can visit a school with a valued, vibrant, well used and well stocked library with a dedicated librarian at the helm, and ten miles away, visit a similar school that has no librarian, and an unloved room filled with outdated and neglected book stock? 

If Head Teachers, Principals, Leadership teams, those that manage the purse strings, do not show that a library and all that it can contain and stand for is of no importance, what message does that send out to the pupils, the students, the next generation? Time after time, research in numerous countries world-wide continues to show that the educational, economic, aspirational, health and wellbeing benefits are improved in young people who are encouraged and supported through their school libraries to read regularly for pleasure or for knowledge.

Literacy is the cornerstone to education, to all subjects, and all subjects align to the school library – the heart of the school, and every school should have one. A proper one. With a trained librarian – no excuses!'

 Joffre is offering a limited number of expenses only author visits to schools between January - April 2018 (excluding World Book Day week). His sessions are designed to inspire and excite young people in the power of words and how reading a book can change their lives and empower them to chase their dreams. If you are interested in taking Joffre up on his kind offer please email him  joffrewhite@joffrewhite.com












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Ebookdabra - reading app giveaway for members

The team at Ebookadabra undertook research earlier this year that showed that astaggering one in 20   British children aged between three and seven have never read a picture book. As a result Ebookadabra has launched a ‘Netflix of children’s picture books’ that will help kids discover a magical world of reading. For a limited time only, Ebookadabra is offering SLA members an exclusive 4 months free subscription to the app. The subscription service is available through both the AppStore and Google Play and normally costs £2.99 a month, after a 14 day free trial. Ebookadabra allows a family to create up to four children’s profiles plus a parent access. It features over a thousand picture books, from leading publishers such as Disney, Harper Collins and Parragon – that’s just 10p a day for an ocean of reading in your pocket.

Grown-ups can record an audio version of any book in the Ebookadabra library for their child to listen to at any time. There are hundreds of pre-recorded audio books too with ‘read-along’ feature that highlights words as they are read. Ebookadabra works off-line allowing up to 15 books to be downloaded to read on the move. With personalised avatars and themes, virtual rewards and a system of educational games that unlock when a story is read, Ebookadabra is safe and fun reading world for young kids.

Ebookadabra is also developing a version for primary schools which will be available in the New Year. Ebookadabra for School will provide a library of books and a system of rewards for use in class so that kids can learn and have fun whilst teachers/librarians can monitor their progress on a ‘teacher dashboard’ and can use the app to choose books of different levels and interests tailored to kids’ needs. Children will be able to continue their reading at home on their own device or by following an audio book read by their teacher or librarian. 

Offer ends on Monday 1 st  January 2018. To claim your 4 months free – please email Tom Grayson at tom.grayson[at]moondogbooks.com with ‘SLA 4 MONTHS FREE’ in the subject.

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Catalyst magazine

STEM Learning RGB Low ResAimed at students aged 14-19, Catalyst is packed with interesting articles on cutting edge science, interviews and new research written by leading academics. It also includes a booklet of teacher's notes, full of ideas and lesson plans to bring the articles to life in the classroom.

Published for over 20 years, STEM Learning are proud to announce that we will be taking over the production and distribution of Catalyst magazine. Catalyst also has a brand new look and feel. We're also created a set of teacher's notes, designed to bring the ideas explored in Catalyst to life. Written by teachers, for teachers, this new feature will be included as an insert with future editions of Catalyst.

We’ve created a new homepage for Catalyst, showcasing our latest edition, as well as the back catalogue of previous editions, and information on how you can sign up to hear about future editions.

This academic year, you can sign up for a single subscription for free. Edition 30 will be landing in schools in January, with articles on manta rays, dark matter and terra-forming.

Find out more: www.stem.org.uk/catalyst

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