This week, the Junior Librarians Valentina and Zacky (both from Hawk class) are sharing with us their favourite reads.
Firstly, Valentina recommends The Mega Magic Teacher Swap written by Rochelle Humes and illustrated by Rachel Suzanne.
Valentina’s reason for her choice: “This book helps if you are worried about joining a new class. It’s a great story and my mummy is the author!”
Humes’ tale of starting a new school year is a great guide to embracing big changes in young lives. A perfect choice for the start of a new academic year – many class teachers have used this text as a starting point for discussions with their new classes.
In this follow-up to Rochelle Humes’ bestselling debut, The Mega Magic Hair Swap, Mai discovers that although change might feel scary, it can be a good thing. This is a heart-felt picture book about starting a new year at school which will resonate with young audiences and their parents alike. When best friends Mai and Rose return to school for a new year, they don’t want to leave Mrs Bee, the best teacher ever! With a wish and some help from My Little Coco, Mai and Rose find themselves back in Mrs Bee’s class. They quickly discover that it’s less fun without their friends, and they’ve already learnt these subjects before! When they meet their new teacher, Ms Daly, they quickly find out that change can be a good thing – and they even make a new friend!
Secondly, Zacky recommends one of his favourite fiction books, Superworm by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
Zacky explains his choice: “Superworm is my favourite Julia Donaldson story. I like how he helps the bugs. Superworm always follows The Grimsdell Way!”
Julia Donaldson is one of our most popular authors and for good reason. The stories are engaging, the illustrations, with several collaborators, are colourful and captivating and the rhymes are perfectly phrased and fun to read aloud. I have written previously of the importance of rhyme in developing early reading skills, thus it is no surprise that parents and schools alike have been drawn to her stories to engage and motivate children to read.
Superworm is a fast-paced story which follows the tale of an unlikely hero. The rhyming narrative and bright, detailed illustration make for an enjoyable read and re-read!
Julia Donaldson has written some of the most widely read and best-loved stories including The Gruffalo and Stick Man. She wrote her first book, A Squash and a Squeeze more than 25 years ago! Her books are a regular favourite amongst the Grimsdell children, who are drawn in not only by her story lines but also by the rhyming style of the text.
The repetitive and rhyming style of the text has many benefits to literacy development. The repetition of a phrase/phrases encourages participation and engages children’s minds. It also encourages them to make predictions by successfully anticipating the next word or sentence. In addition, repetition is a powerful force in fiction – it encourages us to explore the author’s intent: repetition can emphasise setting, highlight a character trait or draw attention to a seemingly minor detail.
I have already written in previous newsletters about the importance of rhyme in early literacy development and its crucial role in helping children to read. Rhyming teaches children how language works; helping them notice and work with the sounds within words and to experience the rhythm of language. As they recite rhymes, they learn to speak with animated voices – this is the precursor to reading with expression. When children are familiar with a rhyming book or nursery rhyme, they learn to anticipate the rhyming word. This prepares them to make predictions when they read, another important reading skill.