Our Book of the Week this week has been selected by Zachary from 2NS. He has chosen a new favourite – Billy and the Pirates. This text has formed part of our Year 2 Adventure Reading Road Map programme. Zachary’s book, Billy and the Pirates is written and illustrated by Nadia Shireen
Zachary’s reason for his choice:
“I like the characters, Billy and Fatcat, in the story. They are very funny and also very clever!!”
Mrs Harvey supports Zachary’s choice. Nadia Shireen is back for her third adventure from our favourite heroine (Billy) and her hangry cat (Fatcat). The story encourages you to join the infamous duo on their quest to escape Captain Howl in their third thrilling adventure, filled with singing mermaids and sticky toffee eating sharks. The story begins with Billy and Fatcat finding a mysterious message in a bottle at sea. When suddenly something terrible happens – they bump into a pesky pirate and his smelly crew. Oh no! Fortunately for our courageous duo, they’re no strangers to peril: they always have a trick (or two!) up their sleeves!
The book is rich with illustrations. I have written previously about the important role illustration plays in enhancing a child’s reading comprehension skills. Pictures provide visual clues to help us discover more about the narrative. They show expressions, reveal unwritten details, setting and context that help us to compare and contrast. These details allow us to analyse more complex details of character development.
Illustrations can provide important background knowledge and offer contextual clues based on what is happening in the story. This helps us ‘read between the lines’ to find meaning that may not be explicitly stated in the text. Furthermore, books filled with pictures encourage children to make predictions and inferences about what’s going to happen next. They can pair the words with expressions and setting shown in the picture to make an informed guess about what comes next in the story.
Images and illustrations offer many opportunities for reflection and interpretation. When reading picture books with children, you can use the images to encourage and promote discussion. For example, ask questions like, ‘What do you think is happening in this picture?’. You can encourage the child to look at the details and see if they can spot anything the words aren’t telling them. When working with older children, you could dive a little deeper with the questions you ask. Do you think the colours represent anything? How is the character feeling right now? How do you know? What does the picture make you feel? Reflecting like this will make children consider the meaning and message behind the work. Not only does this help with analysis, but it will also inspire children to think about the importance of books and stories and how they influence us.