• Sammy

My favourite books for teaching

Updated: Aug 28, 2018

There are so many fantastic books for sharing with children. I have a cupboard in my spare bedroom which must have hundreds of children's books in it and I don't even have my own children! I reckon that if a child arrived in F1 and left in Year 6 and all they did every day of their school life was enjoy books, there would still be thousands of amazing books out there that they hadn't come across.

Reading is so important for children. I have a standard answer prepared for interview questions about why reading is important and it's one of my favourite questions to be asked because I so passionately believe in the importance of it. Developing a love of reading in children is important because by learning to love reading, children learn to love learning. By becoming competent readers, children find out more and what starts off as learning to read becomes reading to learn. Someone who can read well will never not be able to find the answer to a question (assuming of course we have the answer to it).

So, (in no particular order) some of my favourite books for teaching and the reasons that I love them so much are:

1. Click, Clack, Moo - Cows That Type

I love this book. I did a Talk 4 Reading course a few years ago and they read it to us. I've used it with Year 2, 3 and 4 children and would quite happily use it with older and younger children. It's a picture book but it is absolutely fantastic for prediction. When I've read it to classes, they've been hooked. I read it to my class of a couple of years ago and due to timings, we had to spread it out over a few days. They were desperate for me to read them the next page because they wanted to know what happened next. It's got repeating patterns in it which means children can join in very quickly yet the images add a depth to it that can easily be used to stretch a more able reader to infer what it happening. I currently have a lesson plan available for it as part of the premium subscription but I have happily used it over a week of lessons and could easily extend it beyond that.

Available from Amazon. Click here.

2. Wolves by Emily Gravett

Another fantastic book. This book (like all of Emily Gravett's) is very cleverly presented. It is the fictional tale of a rabbit reading a non-fiction book about wolves that he has borrowed from the library. Unfortunately for the rabbit, the wolves start to escape from the book leading to an unhappy ending. What I love about this book is that if you extract the text from it and look only at that, you have a non-fiction book whereas if you look only at the pictures, it is fictional.

I have shared it with a class before as a whole book and shared it as two different books before presenting the fact that it is in fact one book. The second time, we looked at identifying whether a text is fiction or non-fiction and then discussed the role the writer's choice of words made on the text. It was a very effective lesson and was accessible for the mix of abilities. When I next use it, I want to use it as a longer block of work rather than an individual lesson and properly examine the differences between fiction and non-fiction - using Wolves as a prompt in a more detailed and drawn out way than I have done as a single lesson.

Oh, and did I mention that it has a little removable library ticket and an overdue reminder from the library when the rabbit is unable to return his book on time? Absolutely adorable!

Available from Amazon. Click here.

3. The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

I used this book in an interview I had prior to starting my NQT year. I got the job so it clearly worked! This is a book about rabbits. Lots of rabbits. Initially there is one, lonely rabbit in a field but he gets a friend. They have a baby rabbit and then another. Then some more arrive and then even more. Each month the number of rabbits grows, following the Fibonacci sequence until the end of the book where there is an explosion of rabbits breaking out of the field (and it pops out of the book, making it very dramatic).

I used this book with a Year 6 class and we investigated what was happening to the number of rabbits and then the children worked together to use the pattern they had found to predict how many rabbits there would be further through the book. Very engaging and very different for a maths lesson. It's a book and an investigation that I will definitely use again when I get a chance (and I would use it with younger children with more support in the form of pictures and concrete materials).

Available from Amazon. Click here.

4. More to follow...

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