Reading Rocks


Good outcomes in life, enjoyment and achievement come to those who read for pleasure

Children who read six or seven times a week are given a raffle ticket. Every half term (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Easter, Whit and Summer) the raffle is drawn and a book token is awarded. We give the children a Waterstones book token as in a real bookshop you will find wonderful books you didn't know existed. There are also often lovely cafes close by!

Here at Kingsmead learning is about what we bring to the learning table as much as what we take from it. So we ask each raffle winner to share a review of the book they chose to help everybody become a reader for pleasure. Gifts are best when they don't stand still. Children are given the gift of reading from their teachers, parents and carers, raffle winners have a gift of a book token and the gift comes back to our school community. 

Bookworms Book Club.pdf

MAY 2023

Our Whit holiday Kingsreaders. 

The Station Cat

by Stephen Hogtun

Esme thinks this is a really good story. It's about a cat making everyone happy. It's a story of kindness and hope. The cat lurks in the dark with bight green eyes. No one takes any notice of her until she snuggled up on a man's knee and made him see colours again. Shw went on doing it until the station was full of colour and everybody was happy. 

Marcus Rashford

Footballer's biographies have been like gold dust in the library, despite us having lots. Sebastian is starting his own collection. Mo Salah next?!?!

Ethan's Book Review.pdf

Tom's Midnight Garden

by Phillipa Pearce

This award winning classic has received lots of great book reviews, as Ethan celebrates in his own recommendation to others.

A Book Review by Brandon

Book Title: Science Comics Sharks

Author: Joe Flood

Shark Rating: 🦈🦈🦈🦈🦈

I was really pleased when I won the book voucher this term and I chose to buy a Science comic book. The comic style and detailed pictures make it a fun book all about sharks.

The book tells you myths and lots of facts about sharks. You learn about shark biology and behaviour, why you don’t actually need to be afraid of sharks and how to protect them.

There is a really funny story part way through about people trying to find a shark. This was my favourite part of the book.

I would recommend this book to people who are interested in the animal kingdom as well as comic lovers.

APRIL 2023

Our Spring term Kingsmeaders share their love of books with the whole school community. 

I want My Hat Back 

by Jon Klassen

Nuno was so very happy for winning the book! During Easter holidays we went to a Waterstones bookshop in Manchester and Nuno could choose a book! He has chosen the book “I want my hat back” from Jon Klassen. Nuno says:

“I really liked this book because it was so funny and I liked to see the bear asking all the animals for his hat! He had not noticed that it was the rabbit who had it! It made me laugh a lot!”

The Frozen Sea

by Piers Torday

Holly decided she'd write her book review.

A Tale of Magic

by Chris Colfer

Matilda had a big book to read - her review is well worth the wait! 

Book Review Sum1 MV.pdf

The Singing Mermaid

by Julia Donaldson

Gracie loved her book but there is a scary bit! 

The Singing

Bunnies in a Boat 

by Philip Ardagh and Ben Mantle

and Gretel the Wondermammoth

by Kim Hillyard

Riley chose two books and was kind enough to let Ms S read one to him. Riley liked the bit where Gretel helps the birds. "There was a kind mammoth who was in a big ice cube and she came out of it and helped the tiny white birds."

Bunnies in a Boat 'Was very funny. It had good pictures in it. The bunnies were a little bit naughty, they threw all their clothes out of the luggage."

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” 

George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

World Book Day - 2nd March 2023

This year was the time of those less enamoured of the dressing box. Dressing up will return in 2024. An unintended and positive consequence of dressing up alternate years is that we are obliged to think differently about WBD meaning it doesn't become routine, just a thing. This year, we have been thinking about reading for pleasure and where children learn this. Mrs Buzzard, who is leading reading for pleasure across school, opened the day with an event for parents and carers. Thank you to the bookworm families who came. Mrs Buzzard is recording the session so every family can understand why reading is a number one priority for us in school. 

We have been thinking about how we can show we notice those who go above and beyond our expectations. Click to read on...

We want every child to make the most of their time with us in school and their time here on Earth. As reading is key to making the most of our time in school, we are introducing a half termly raffle where every child who reads more than the minimum we expect can have a chance for a reward. Each week, every child with six or more reads signed by a parent or carer in their reading diary will have their name on a ticket put in for an end of term raffle. If the half term is six weeks you could have six tickets and more chance to win. Raffle winners will receive a book token and we hope will be able to take it to Waterstones in Knutsford. It has a good children's department and a shop is where you find great books you'd have never searched for online because you didn't know they existed. We will then ask them to read the book and, independently or with parents and carers help, submit a short review of the book (and a photo of them reading it at home if happy to share) for our Reading Rocks page here on the website. 

By asking for a book review, we encourage reciprocity - receiving and giving back. Sharing enjoyment of a book prize can encourage others to become readers. When everybody is a reader fewer children will have difficulty reading. When everybody is a reader no child need miss out on an important part of their enjoyment and achievement now and in the future. 

Our Junior Parliament MPs Summer and Harry organised a World Book Day Exchange

World Book Day.pdf

Christmas 2022

Number 4 is the my favourite - obvs! We are sharing inspiration for Number 4s up to Christmas and if you scroll down there is plenty to be found. In November last year I wrote (see blog below) about the importance of reading in developing character and how it helps us become usefuller and kinder than we would otherwise be. And by reading in this sense I certainly don't mean scores in phonics tests! This reading can be as well achieved by having a book read to you as reading it for yourself. Ms S :-)

The Snow Queen Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Sanna Annukkaa 

and recommended by Ms Stewart

This book could be bought just for the beauty of the object and the heavenly illustrations which are influenced by the indigenous Sami art of Northern Scandinavia. This tale, by Hans Christian Anderson and one of his strangest and most magical. The book brings insights and solicits thinking for children and adults alike; it would be good company throughout a long life. It does include references to Jesus and God gets a mention or two and some parts are very odd (in a rather strange and lovely way). I've abridged it for Friday Fables this term so you can sample it there! A wonderful 'gift book' to treasure and a very suitable gift to a grandchild, godchild as well as for your own children.

Reading with children can be one of the greatest pleasures but can also present a challenge to busy families. We hope the reading booklet we have provided is helpful. It gives a very brief overview of how we approach the teaching of reading in school and offers some guidance and support for adults supporting children at home. We hope you find it useful. 

Reading at Kingsmead [04 2022].pdf

Read about WBD 2022 in the Spring Newsletter

Christmas Books 

November 2021

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every child was given the gift of a book before the year is out! A blog on why books are so good for ourselves, good for other people and good our world - now and in the future.

Listening to journalist and climate activist George Monbiot speaking about the future I was struck by his words. He said that consumers (something we human beings are often referred to as by companies and even our elected leaders) are powerless in the face of climate change. "We cannot consume our way out of the climate emergency" he said. It is only as citizens, people who participate, who take responsibility and ask their leaders to do the same, that we have any possibility of effecting a more positive future for ourselves, our children and for the world their children inherit. 

But who are the citizens who can make best possible future? I would argue ones who are useful and kind and ones who read. Reading and books give us pleasure in the present but they also play a part in nurturing the useful, kind and educated citizens we need for a decent future.

Useful citizens have the knowledge and understanding to approach our complex world, the people around them and their own lives with intelligence. Useful citizens who are educated and informed are less susceptible to misinformation and harm from platforms such as Facebook, Tik-Tok etc. etc. etc. 

Finnish youngsters are less impacted and suffer less harm from social media than our young people in the UK. Why? Because they learn the difference between facts and opinions in school (as year 5/6 did when studying Ancient Greece last Summer, studying Greek myths). When educated, well read youngsters read something on Facebook, they will be more sceptical than had they read it in media that have been peer reviewed and got through the editorial process in a respectable publication. Finland places high value on reading and Finns score highly in international reading tables. Here in school we emphasise quality literature including fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction way beyond English lessons and it is no accident that the school library is at the heart of the school. It is no accident we have opened a library in the entrance hall for children and adults where families can borrow and return books. Reading books takes children to places they can never visit; it helps inform an intelligent and broad worldview in a way that personal experience cannot.

Kind citizens are characterised by their empathy. Empathy goes beyond feeling sorry for someone, showing sympathy. Empathy is about seeing a situation through someone else's eyes, walking in their shoes, feeling their joy, their pain, their fears and their laughter. Through connections forged through empathy relationships are more equal, more supportive and mutually beneficial. Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker makes a strong case for literature and works of fiction making us Homo Sapiens a kinder species. When writers like Charles Dickens wrote about children going up chimneys or being groomed for criminal gangs, readers saw the people they might have despised and looked down on in Victorian London with new eyes. Pinker argues that increased literacy had a lot to do with laws preventing abuses like child labour up chimneys, in factories and down mines. When we read a novel we don't see another person in the way we do if watching a film or TV, we inhabit the characters' inner world in quite a unique way. This is why, in school, in assemblies and the routines that form our social, moral, cultural and spiritual curriculum, stories and poems are a big part.

But the most important reading of all does not happen in school. It is widely acknowledged that it is the amount of reading children do outside of the school curriculum that makes the biggest difference to their success in education, life and work as adults.

This is why, as people prepare for Christmas - more than any other, a festival tied up with over consumption - I am making a plea for every child to receive a book of their own before we say goodbye to 2021.

This blog, the Archive Blogs the Friday Fables, and books below all give plenty of suggestions. A good place to start is a favourite author. Mrs R-B and I were equally excited to see that Jon Klassen had a new book out this month - the Rock from the Sky

Happy reading, Ms S :-)

A virtual library for voracious readers

Reading - an entitlement and pleasure in every child's childhood

Growing lifelong readers at home will not only help children learn and achieve more in school, it is an important indicator of their future success. 

The Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children in Lockdown

Below are links to videos, audio recordings and PDFs of more recommended reads to share and enjoy for children of all ages.

It is important that children read aloud, to themselves and others and learn to decode words it is also important that they engage in meaning, story and ideas. This is where the pleasure of reading is found. This reading, reading for meaning, can be done by reading yourself or listening to a book read aloud. Listening to stories and hearing books read aloud at home with the adults they love best and in school too, is important. This more than anything will grow lifelong, happy readers.

The value of the difficult and what comes more easily

In school children engage with texts that challenge, content they find difficult. Many are tackled in Guided Reading but storytime, Friday Fables and books read in assembly also help attentive listeners to engage with new words, ideas and meaning they would struggle to read for themselves. We hope that the books children bring home are mostly for pleasure, something to curl up with, something to share with more fluency and ease.