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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

Wordclouds Revisited

Are you looking for ideas for the first lesson with a new class that will spark their interest? You might want to consider using wordclouds with them to brainstorm books they have read or their interests for example. They could write the words they want to use in a text file, repeating those they want to appear bigger in the finished wordcloud and then copy and paste the words into a generator. This review of two generators from Vol. 66 of the School Librarian should give you some more ideas:

Word Art and Wordclouds  

Word clouds are dynamic visual representations of text.  The more times a specific word appears in a source of text, the bigger and bolder it will appear in the wordcloud. Wordle and Tagxedo are two of the best known word cloud generators but Wordle is a little basic and unfortunately Tagxedo no longer works. There are alternatives however,  here are two of the newer generators that are becoming popular:

Word Art

Word Art started life as Tagul but changed branding in April 2017.  In November, as Word Art they released a new word art creator.  To have full functionality you do need to sign up to a pay plan but it is also possible to create word arts for free.

It was very easy to get up and running and within minutes I had created my first word art using a list of authors my student librarians had given me of ‘Must Reads’ for Valentine’s Day.  Word Art has an extensive list of images that can be used but you also have the option of uploading your own image.  Font and layout can all be customised.  When ready click ‘Visualize’ to create your Word Art.  When using Word Art for free it is possible to download your Word Art as a JPG or PNG or it can be shared via Facebook, Twitter or email.

I had a play using hashtags from my LRC’s Twitter feed in the shape of the Twitter bird to highlight our most used hashtags.

Word Art offers the opportunity to customise every aspect of your word art.  The font, size, colour, and angle for each individual word can be altered to your specific requirements.  A nice feature is the ability to undo and redo so if have made some changes and don’t like them you can go back to previous versions of your word art.


Word clouds is a completely free open source software.  This means the word cloud images are yours to use in any way including commercial uses.

As with Word Art, this was very intuitive to use but also has a great, straightforward wizard to help get you started.  Text can be provided in a number of formats: type or paste, or upload a Microsoft Office document, pdf or text document.  

Once you have your initial word cloud the Word List allows you to review words included and their frequency and make any changes you want.  It is also very easy to change the shape, colours and font of your word cloud.  Word clouds can be saved either a jpg, png or pdf.  I created a word cloud based on text we are using to promote Accelerated Reader to parents and I have linked key words to link to relevant websites of further information for parents.

One interesting feature is the possibility of adding links and saving the word cloud as a Image Map.  This means when you open the HTML file, linked words in the word cloud will be clickable and open to the linked websites.  This function opens a new interactive side to word clouds and the possibility of using word clouds in research lessons or for online promotion.

Obviously word clouds make good display visuals but they could also be used for educational purposes:

  • Text comparisons - students identify genre from word cloud clues
  • Vocabulary - a great starting point for introducing new vocabulary at the start of a new subject topic.
  • Summarising survey results - where free text has been used, this could really shout out the key points of students and staff points.

Both word cloud generators are easy to use.  Try both; see which one feels more natural to use and best matches your needs.  These are definitely tools I will be utilising more of over the next few months to engage our students in a more visual way.

Angela Roe, Belmont Community School, Durham

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Wizards Unite!

Last Thursday evening was an exciting one for me , not only was I in Birmingham ready for the start of the #BuildingIdentitites conference but when I got back to my room I discovered that the Wizards Unite app from the makers of Pokemon Go had been released! Now any of you that have met me will know I am a definite Potterhead (fan of Harry Potter) so I had been waiting for this app for a long time. Naturally needing an early night I refrained from playing until Friday.......not, I think I finally got to sleep at about 1a.m.! The game is very similar to Pokemon Go in that you collect artifacts and take part in battles but the Harry Potter theme just takes things to a whole new level. You can make friends and work with them, you choose your own wand and house (Ravenclaw), make potions and take part in daily challenges. I was thrilled the other morning to discover my favourite character, Luna, had visited me at home. More details about the app can be found here and if any of you would like to team up DM me on Twitter (@Libwithattitude) or email me  and I'll send you my friend code. Fellow Potterhead librarians - assemble!!



Bev Humphrey

SLA Digital Editor

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Naomi Korn Associates training programme

Naomi Korn Associates are proud to announce their brand new training programme for 2019/2020. The courses offer guidance about the practical implementation of  copyright compliance issues within educational establishments. New EU copyright laws will have a big impact on schools and it’s important that staff know what their responsibilities are and what they need to do next. 

Naomi Korn Associates are delighted to offer a 15% discount to members of the SLA. Please quote the following when booking a place NKTRAIN

The programme is as follows:

18 July 2019Copyright Essentials a comprehensive introduction to understanding the practical aspects of copyright See the programme here  

17 September 2019Copyright Officer designed for anyone responsible for copyright in their organisation See the programme here 

8 October 2019Orphan Works, Reasonable Searches and Risk Management for professionals who are reproducing, publishing or digitising copyright works See the programme here 

Naomi Korn Associates will provide resources, refreshments and lunch for delegates and there will be an opportunity to ask questions prior to the course for the trainer to cover on the day. 

If you would like to find out more or book, please get in touch with patrick@naomikorn.com


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Nicola Morgan Exam Attack offer

Nicola Morgan has made a very generous offer to our members of a 25% discount on her Exam Attack ebook, you can read her blog post about it here . When purchasing the resource you should use the code SLA25 to benefit from the offer. 

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Exam Attack update

In a previous issue of the School Librarian Beth Khalil reviewed Nicola Morgan's digital resource, Exam Attack. With exam season almost upon us we thought now might be a good time to re share it, there is an exciting offer for SLA members to follow soon!


"I have read quite a few exam study skills guides which have had some useful information in them, but I found this ebooklet to be so much more informative and relatable to student needs because of the neat, encouraging style it is written in, using lists and tips rather than paragraphs of text to read through.

The guide starts with a complete list in brief of study tips to use in advance of exams covering stress factors which all students will face but explaining how to approach these sensibly to reduce panic. There is a pdf link to a printed list of these tips to put on a wall above a student’s desk as a reminder.

The guide is then divided into small chapters explaining how to have a good revision timetable (with downloadable copies to print and use), relaxation tips (if you build relaxation into every day you will perform better) and a list of the relaxation ideas and techniques to try. I especially liked the reading for pleasure tip because I know students who stop reading for pleasure completely during their GCSE years because they “don’t have time”.

The Feed Your Brain chart is excellent as it lists exam boosting foods, revision fuel and healthy meals all laid out to remind students of the kinds of meals and snacks that will help with revision and stress. The worry list is something I have not come across or thought about before and I think that the ‘stress buddy’ advice would work very well, especially with a group of students who are studying the same subjects. The last minute checklist for the day before exams start reiterates the positive advice given earlier in the guide,

I loved the letters page where Nicola answers questions and problems from students who have gotten in touch with her personally – the advice obviously works! My favourite part of the guide though has to be the Reading for Pleasure chapter which lists the benefits of pleasure reading, linking this activity to destressing and I absolutely love the new name she gives it - Readaxation! This resource is well worth purchasing and recommending to students who are seriously focused about revision and exam preparation. "

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Library Learner Quiz Pack free trial

Carel Press are keen to help you celebrate National Libraries Week and they are offering a free two week trial of their Library Learner Quiz Pack if you email office[at]carelpress.co.uk . The pack is both a testing and teaching tool that is fun to use, more details here.

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Summer Reading Challenge 2018

Mischiefmakers Logo

Summer Reading Challenge from The Reading Agency

This year's Summer Reading Challenge is called Mischief Makers, inspired by the much-loved iconic children's title Beano, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary. 

You can see the official promotional video at www.mischief-makers.org.uk. The Beano characters have moved on for a new generation – they have caught up with today's children and modern sensibilities. The stories celebrate people for their individuality and the characters and stories are relatable for the audience, relevant and modern. 

A school pack is is available to download from The Reading Agency website and also went out via the library networks to schools.

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NHS poster from Carel Press


NHS 70 Free Poster

Members can download a free poster highlighting the 70th anniversary of the NHS from the Carel Press Celebration Posters series.

 Carel Press has also produced a Focus Guide about the NHS with articles and statistics which is free to Complete Issues subscribers but it can also be purchased separately.

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