Monthly Archives: July 2021

Cultivating friendships on the International Day of Friendship – #readilearn

Next Friday 30 July is the International Day of Friendship. One of the aims of the International Day of Friendship is to foster a culture of peace through education. It is “based on the recognition of the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world”.

Some children find it easy to make friends. Others may find it a little more difficult. While some of us enjoy time on our own, there’s no denying that days are often brighter with friends. This is especially true of children at school. Without a friend to play with, children can feel left out and alone. They may feel they don’t belong and begin to think ‘What’s wrong with me?’ Having a friend or two can influence how they feel about attending school and impact the whole school experience.

The establishment of a welcoming and supportive classroom in which all children have a sense of belonging is essential and underpins a great year of learning and teaching for all involved. Part of that classroom is the social dynamics and friendship groups. They don’t always form naturally and, especially when some friendship groups are already established, newcomers may have difficulty being accepted when they try to fit in.

Here at readilearn, we have a variety of lessons, activities and teaching resources to assist the teaching of friendship skills in your classroom. They can all be found in the Friendship Skills collection in the section Character Development.

Getting to know each other

Getting to know you surveys are a great way for teachers and children to get to know each other at the beginning of the year, and support the establishment of a welcoming, supportive environment in which individuals are respected and appreciated. Topics to survey are limited only by your imagination. With the incidental development of literacy and mathematical skills, they make an all-round great introduction to school.

Me and my friends Children interview their friends to find out ways in which they are similar and how they differ from each other

As children get to know each other, they come to realise that they have some characteristics in common and some that differ. Those characteristics do not make them better or worse. They make them who they are.

Me and My Buddy is a great activity for your children’s first session with their buddy class.

Children interview their buddies to find out more about them and discuss ways in which they and their buddies are similar and different.

A community of friends

Continue reading: Cultivating friendships on the International Day of Friendship – Readilearn

Ice Cream Meltdown

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the word meltdown. You can use it to describe an event or emotional reaction. You can create a new meaning or explore the word origin. You can Go where the prompt leads!

When I thought of children in relation to Charli’s meltdown prompt, my first thought was of ice cream melting. Why not go literal? Children can find joy in an ice cream, especially on a hot day. They can also have a meltdown if it misbehaves and melts too soon or falls from the cone to the ground, irretrievable.

This past eighteen months of social restrictions and lockdowns have provided many opportunities to develop patience and resilience. At the same time, they have caused a multitude of frustrations and meltdowns, especially if toilet roll supplies edged dangerously low. However, it is surprising how the majority pull through the inconveniences and, perhaps less surprising, how quickly a few have gone into meltdown.

Ice Cream Meltdown

“Stop blubbering while I answer this. Hello.”

“Good morning. Sounds like someone’s not happy.”

“The ice cream’s melted.”

“An ice cream meltdown. Kids will be kids.”

“Yeah. Our fifth lockdown this year. We’re homeschooling. Again. My FIFO hub’s trapped in woop-woop. I can’t visit mum in hospital cause she’s interstate even if hub did get home. And no power now for three days. Our freezer food’s spoiled, and he’s whinging about ice cream. When will the lines be fixed?”

“Sorry. You’ve got the wrong number.” I hung up. The boss can fire me. No way she’d buy raffle tickets.

Thank you blog post

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Meet Oswald Messweather a delightful new picture book by Dimity Powell – #readilearn

Today I am delighted to reintroduce you to Dimity Powell as she introduces us to Oswald Messweather, the star of her latest picture book. I have previously talked with Dimity about her earlier books At the End of Holyrood Lane  and Pippa. She also wrote a wonderful guest post for us about the importance of libraries, Libraries: A Wondrous Universe to Explore.

About Dimity Powell

Award winning children’s author, Dimity Powell writes exclusively for children with over 30 published stories including Oswald Messweather (2021), Pippa (2019), critically acclaimed, The Fix-It Man (2017) and At The End of Holyrood Lane (2018), winner of the 2019 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award.

Dimity believes kids and great stories are life-essentials, like ice-cream. She fills her spare time reviewing the ones she loves (stories that is, not ice-cream flavours) at DIM’S re VIEWS and Kids Book Review for whom she is the Managing Editor. She is also a Books in Homes Australia Role Model, an accredited Write Like an Author facilitator and online and in-school presenter for G.A.T.E.WAYS Education.

Dimity is an experienced presenter at writing festivals, conferences and schools both in Australia and overseas who is represented by Speakers Ink and Creative Kids’ Tales Speakers Agency. She loves eating cake with ice cream, sailing on the beam and writing in her diary although combining all three at once makes her nauseous.

Dimity lives on the Gold Coast, Australia where dreams sparkle and superheros surf. Discover more at http://www.dimitypowell.com.

About Oswald Messweather

Mess and disorder upset Oswald. Even the complexity of his own name is enough to set Oswald’s legs jiggling and his palms itching with anxiety. To combat his unease, Oswald obsessively counts his take-everywhere pocket pals – his crayons. It is a compulsion he finds comforting but also extremely exhausting.

Oswald’s obsessive preoccupations distract him from everything and everyone else around him, until one day Oswald is encouraged to use his penchant for perfection and eye for detail in a class project. With the help of his crayons, Oswald’s classmates create something spectacular, which helps Oswald realise just how valuable he is in spite of his anxieties.

Oswald Messweather is not a picture book that focuses intently on the educational perspectives of children with OCD but rather more on the emotional aspects associated with this debilitating condition.

The Interview

Thank you so much for visiting us at readilearn again, Dimity. It’s a pleasure to have you here to talk about your new book. Please tell us, what gave you the idea for Oswald Messweather?

Continue reading: Meet Oswald Messweather a delightful new picture book by Dimity Powell – readilearn

The Feather #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features feathers. It can be a single feather or more. Where did the feather come from? Does it hold meaning to the character or story? Go where the prompt leads!

I don’t know if you ever did this when you were young, but I and my siblings and/or friends used to. We would attach meaning or significance to otherwise insignificant events or occurrences, such as seeing images in the clouds or finding a coin or ‘special’ shell or rock in the sand or on the path. Anything could intrigue and we would create stories to explain why we were the chosen ones for the particular find or revelation. I guess it was a way of giving rein to our imaginations and, perhaps, an attempt to make our ordinary lives seem extraordinary. I guess most children do this in the land of dress-ups and make-believe.

This is where Charli’s prompt took me this time. I hope you enjoy it.

The Feather

‘It’s not just a feather. It’s the feather.’

Which feather?’

‘The one from the beach that day.’

‘Which day?’

‘Remember when we went to the beach and there was a flock of birds that looked like they were having a conference but when they saw us they flew away and one dropped a feather that landed on top of our castle. We knew it was a sign, they were telling us something.’

‘That’s just silly childish stuff.’

‘It was a sign. The birds need our help. The bulldozers have arrived. They will destroy the habitat. We must stop them!’

Thank you blog post

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Lessons for teaching the letters and their most common sounds – #readilearn

This week, I am delighted to tell you that I have finished making and have uploaded a lesson for each letter of the alphabet ready to teach on the interactive whiteboard. I had hoped to have them finished by the end of June, but I don’t feel too bad that it took me until 4 July — not too far over my goal.

Each letter is introduced in its own lesson with its most common sound, as is the expectation of most English curricula and phonics programs. This includes 20 consonants and the short sound for each of the 5 vowels (a, e, i, o and u). The letter ‘x’ is the exception. Its most common sound is ‘ks’ as heard in ‘box’, so that is how it is introduced.

The lessons are available individually and can be used in any order.

They are titled, for example Let’s learn about initial j and can be found in the Literacy/phonics collection.

Each lesson follows the same format.

The letter and ten words are presented aurally as well as visually with images as an additional aid to memory.

Continue reading: Lessons for teaching the letters and their most common sounds – readilearn

Photographs tell Stories #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the old photograph.” What is captivating about it? Where did it come from? How does it incite a story? Go where the prompt leads!

One of the things I think we need to encourage most in our children is curiosity: I wonder — how, when, where, why, what, who, what if …

children ask questions to find out about the world and how things work

Curiosity got me into lots of strife when I was a child. Curiostiy is where Charli’s prompt lead me. I hope the story makes you as curious as are the characters in it.

Photographs tell Stories

Nothing would dampen Megan’s curiosity. The slightest hand or foothold was irresistible. If none existed, she made one.

Mary gasped. Megan was atop bucket, on stool, on chair, on table, stretching for a box on the top shelf. Mary didn’t breathe as, in slow motion, Megan swiped the box and tumbled in a mess of wood and plastic. Mary, in fast-forward, grabbed arms and legs before she hit; but the box bounced, spewing its contents across the floor.

Megan plucked out an old photograph.

“Who’s dat, Mum?”

Mary trembled. Could it be her? The one in his poem? Who?

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Rollo’s Wet Surprise by Penny Macoun — a review – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to the delightful new picture book Rollo’s Wet Surprise by Penny Macoun as part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About Penny Macoun

Penny Macoun was born in Sydney, Australia. She has been writing since 1993 when her story about a funnel web spider was printed in a school newsletter. Ever since, Penny has loved the ‘other worlds’ that words create, and hopes to continue to create these worlds for many years to come. Rollo’s Wet Surprise is her second book. When she is not writing or editing, Penny dabbles in various forms of visual arts and enjoys being in the garden.

About Rollo’s Wet Surprise

Rollo is a dog who loves to go to work with his owner, Jim. Jim is a builder, and when he is working, Rollo loves to explore all the different homes Jim and his team of builders work at.

One day, the builders are moving lots of big, heavy windows to a safe area. Rollo begins to explore this new part of the garden, and sniffs around.

While Rollo is exploring, he gets a very wet surprise!

What I like about this book

Continue reading: Rollo’s Wet Surprise by Penny Macoun — a review – readilearn