Category Archives: Lower Primary education

About Michael Rosen and his Sticky McStickstick – #readilearn

In this post, I share some information about Michael Rosen. I hope you are already aware of Michael Rosen because he is an amazing poet, author, educator and so much more.

If you know nothing else about him, you probably know his award-winning picture book Going on a Bear Hunt with its wonderful illustrations by Helen Oxenbury. This article in the Guardian that tells how he came to write it and Helen to illustrate it is quite fascinating.

Here’s a video of Michael telling Going on a Bear Hunt and some others of his stories.

Or maybe you know of him as a meme.

Perhaps you’ve read the post Storytelling with author Michael Rosen in which I introduce you to Michael and his wonderful story Chocolate Cake.

The story is great fun, perfect for storytelling and a wonderful stimulus for writing. In that post, I suggest some lessons you can build around the story.

Continue reading: About Michael Rosen and his Sticky McStickstick – readilearn

Inspire Creativity with International Dot Day – #readilearn

September 15-ish is International Dot Day.

The goal of International Dot Day is to inspire people of all ages to embrace the power of personal creativity, to make their mark on the world, making it a better place.

Creativity is important to me. I love being creative. I love inspiring creativity in children, and I acknowledge that it is only through creativity that we can innovate, advance and improve our world. For this reason, I am posting a day early to ensure you all know about International Dot Day in time to celebrate. However, any day is a good day to celebrate and promote creativity.

The Dot — the book

The Dot, written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds and published by Walker Books in 2003, tells of an art teacher who encouraged a young artist, who didn’t believe she could, to make her mark on a piece of paper. Although the story features an art teacher, Reynolds dedicated the book to his 7th grade math teacher who, he said, ‘dared me to “make my mark”.’

Like Reynolds, I believe there is a spark of creativity in everyone and that a dot is as good a place as any to start. What I really love about this book, is the way the teacher encourages the student Vashti, who then goes on to encourage others in a similar way. The ripples of a ‘you can do it’ philosophy spread. Who know where they will reach? Hopefully everywhere.

How International Dot Day began

(from the website)

International Dot Day began when Iowa teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Reynolds’ book, and noticed the original publishing date of The Dot was Sept. 15, 2003. Shay and his students decided to celebrate the book’s birthday – and, little did they know, launched what would become a worldwide celebration of creativity and courage to “make your mark.”

“The Dot, is an invitation to students to be creative, and experience a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, said Shay, a public school teacher for over two decades “Every great teacher works for those transformational moments.”

Exploring the themes of creativity, bravery and self-expression, The Dot is a story of a perceptive and caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student who thinks she can’t draw by encouraging her to be brave enough to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.”  The Dot has been translated into many languages (including Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish and even Braille) and the animated film of The Dot (produced by Reynolds’ multimedia design and development firm FableVision Studios and co-producer Scholastic) earned the Carnegie Medal of Excellence.

Continue reading: Inspire Creativity with International Dot Day – Readilearn

Interview with author Sandhya Parappukkaran – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Sandhya Parappukkaran, author of The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name which is illustrated by Michelle Pereira and is a Bright Light 2021 publication by Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing.

About Sandhya Parappukkaran

Sandhya Parappukkaran left her job as a Food Technologist so she could put her feet up and read. Then she rediscovered her passion for children’s books. She writes stories with themes of ‘embracing your cultural identity’ inspired by her South Indian heritage. Sandhya resides in Brisbane with her husband, three children and a backyard brimming with mango trees, curry leaves and green chillies.

About The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name

No-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in.

When Zimdalamashkermishkada starts a new school, he knows he’s got to do something about his long name.

When no amount of shrinking, folding or crumpling works, he simply settles for Zim — but deep down, it doesn’t feel right.

It’s not until a new friend sees him for who he is that Zimdalamashkermishkada finds the confidence to step boldly into his name.

What I like about The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name

This is a beautiful book about culture and identity, about accepting ourselves and respecting others. As the blurb says, ‘No-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in.’ Our names are an essential part of who we are.

In Australia, people often take liberties with the names of others, lengthening some, shortening others or creating a nickname from their parts, often without asking permission. Over the years, many from migrant families have Anglicised their names to make it easier for the English-speaking population to pronounce.

In both a profound and subtle way, through her story, Sandhya Parappukkaran shows us the importance of respect for others and their culture by something as simple, but significant, as learning to pronounce their names correctly.

Even Zimdalamashkermishkada had difficulty pronouncing his name. When his new friend Elly shortened it to Zim, he asked his mother if he could do the same. She explained, ‘We named you after the coconut trees that stretch high and hold up the sky while sheltering all underneath’, and she asked him to ‘Give people a chance to say it right.’

So, he does. As Elly teaches Zimdalamashkermishkada to skateboard, he teaches her to pronounce his name.

Continue reading: Interview with author Sandhya Parappukkaran – readilearn

Let’s celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day 2022 – #readilearn

Next Wednesday 7 September is Indigenous Literacy Day.

Indigenous Literacy Day is a free national event Celebrating Stories, Cultures and Languages.

This year’s digital story will premiere at 10.30 am AEST from The Sydney Opera House.

According to the website, Celebrating Stories, Cultures and Languages is a magical story led by children from remote Milikapiti and Jilkminggan in the Northern Territory. In a 20-minute video, the children are joined by music icon Jessica Mauboy and dynamic performer Gregg Dreise.

(Gregg is also an author and illustrator and I introduced him to you in an interview in 2017. Earlier this year, I included some of his books in a post for National Reconciliation Week.)

Here’s Jessica Mauboy inviting you to join in celebrating Indigenous Literacy Day.

Registrations for the event have been open since 9 August. Have you registered yet? I have. You can book here. If you can’t watch the scheduled event, the story will be available to watch online anytime that suits you.

This video tells of some of the wonderful work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

The website explains that 2022 is the first year of UNESCO’s Decade of Indigenous Languages. It will be interesting to see the extent to which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages can be revitalised and preserved during the next ten years due to the efforts of organisations such as the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and its celebration of Indigenous Literacy Day.

To find out more about the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and Indigenous Literacy Day and how you can support this great work, please visit their website: Indigenous Literacy Foundation https://www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au/.

A free booklet of teaching resources can be downloaded here.

Continue reading: Let’s celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day 2022 – Readilearn

It’s a Kind of Magic — Cover Reveal — Pre-orders Open! – #readilearn

Today I’m excited to tell you that this year’s Anthology Angels’ anthology It’s a Kind of Magic is available for pre-order and will be available for sale on 30th of October at the conclusion of Children’s Week (and dare I say, just in time for Halloween too!).

The anthology will be published in a dyslexic friendly font and large print for visually impaired readers. How magical is that!

Pre-order now

You can pre-order now on Amazon with a Pre-order Price Guarantee, or on the Book Depository which has free international shipping.

The blurb

I want to be a wizard,

But my mind is like a blizzard!

I don’t know if I can keep doing spells,

I might just have to say farewell.

People jeer and people laugh, 

Which splits my confidence in half.

Join our second-rate sorcerers as they try and fail at magic spells, terrible tricks and bewildering bewitchments. This is a collection of stories and poems for children of all ages about resilience, friendship and finding out that the most enchanting things are often hidden in plain sight.

My story

I am delighted to say that I also have a story included in the anthology. My story is called Not Too Little. It is about the youngest member of a family of sorcerers who is tired of always being told he is too little. One night when his brothers are out, he sneaks into their room to create a little magic for himself and prove once and for all that he is big enough. Of course, it doesn’t all go the way he hopes, and he must solve a series of problems before he, and the rest of the family, realises that he isn’t too little, he’s just the right size.

Proceeds of sales — Children’s Rights Queensland

Authors donate their stories and poems for the anthology and all profits from the book will go to Children’s Rights Queensland.The book will also be distributed to disadvantaged and at risk children via that organisation.

Children’s Rights Queensland, founded in 1971, is focused on raising awareness of the needs, rights and achievements of children under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child.

Continue reading: It’s a Kind of Magic — Cover Reveal — Pre-orders Open! – readilearn

readilearn is Six Years Old Today! – #readilearn

Today, Wednesday 24 August 2022 is readilearn’s sixth birthday. Thank you for joining our journey.

To celebrate this milestone, I have made a new birthday-themed interactive resource Make Words from the Word ‘Birthday‘.

This resource is designed for use with the whole class on the interactive whiteboard. Children use the letters of ‘birthday’ to see how many smaller words they can make. Each letter can be used only once in each word.

Children drag the letters to form new words, then type the words into the text box. The page of words can be printed if you wish to keep a record. Progress can also be saved for another lesson if you still have more words to find when the lesson is over. A printable PDF activity sheet for individuals or groups of children to use is also included.

As a birthday gift from readilearn to you, this resource is available free until 14 September.

It is just one of the birthday-themed resources in the collection. Others include:

Happy Birthday — an interactive resource to personalise I used it to make readilearn’s sixth birthday card. The card can be personalised and printed for children on their birthdays.

Continue reading: readilearn is Six Years Old Today! – readilearn

Interview with Deborah Frenkel author of Naturopolis – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Deborah Frenkel and her beautiful new picture book Naturopolis with illustrations by Ingrid Bartkowiak and published by Storytorch Press.

About the author Deborah Frenkel

Deb is a human (Homo sapiens). She lives in Melbourne with her young family and a number of ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) who occasionally drop by. When she’s not writing for kids, she’s usually copywriting for TV commercials, billboards, and the labels

of shampoo bottles. Kids, thankfully, are usually more appreciative. This is her first picture book, and her second (with Affirm Press) is due out in 2023.

Find out more about the author from her website: http://deborahfrenkel.com/

About the illustrator Ingrid Bartkowiak

An artist and illustrator based in Brisbane, Australia, Ingrid works in watercolour and oils. Her practice revolves around her fascination with nature and its intricacies. Ingrid completed her Bachelor of Fine Art in 2019 at the Queensland College of Art. Engaging with native flora and fauna, her illustrations are whimsical and encourage an appreciation for nature. They often feature both realistic illustrative elements, merged with abstraction and blocks of vibrant colour. There is a focus on detailing and pattern, with one of Ingrid’s earlier interests being in the visual tropes of the arts and crafts movement. A highly talented artist, this is her first children’s book.

Find out more about the illustrator from her website: https://ingridbartkowiakart.com/

About Naturopolis

Among the steel and stone canyons of the city, nature flourishes in tiny, tenacious ways. Follow the ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus) to discover the scraps of wilderness hiding in plain sight in this lyrical celebration of urban flora and fauna.

Naturopolis is a wonderful acknowledgement of the unseen, and the world that awaits the viewer, eager to connect with nature. You don’t have to go far to find what is waiting for us beneath our feet.

Naturopolis is creative non-fiction that celebrates nature that can be found in our cities. The lyrical text invites children to look closely and stunning hand-painted illustrations show them where to look. Each observation is accompanied by an information tag that provides the reader with fun facts about the fauna or flora discovered. It is a perfect balance of fiction and non-fiction, enough to excite the imagination while at the same time, fostering an interest in exploring and finding out more.

Themes are resilience, community and appreciation of nature.

The Trailer

Continue reading: Interview with Deborah Frenkel author of Naturopolis – readilearn

Dreaming with Eyes Open CBCA BOOK WEEK 2022 – #readilearn

Book Week is almost upon us. It runs from 20 – 26 August. The theme for Book Week this year is Dreaming with Eyes Open.

The beautiful artwork in the poster for this year was created by author-illustrator Jasmine Seymour. You can hear her speak briefly about the artwork and what the theme means to her in this video in which the theme was announced. I think you’ll agree that the artwork is beautiful.

Book Week is an annual event organised by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and has been held every year since 1945. It is a celebration of Australian children’s books, their authors and illustrators. Celebrations take place in schools and libraries across Australia with displays, story telling and reading, competitions and parades. I think the favourite activity for many is dressing up as storybook characters.

Shortlisted books

All the books shortlisted for the awards are listed on the website. A ‘read more’ button beside each book takes you to teaching notes, critiques by the judges, reviews and other activities where available.

The books are organised into different categories for the awards:

  • Book of the Year: Older Readers
  • Book of the Year: Younger Readers
  • Book of the Year: Early Childhood
  • The Picture Book of the Year
  • Eve Pownall Award (a focus on factual material)
  • CBCA Award for New Illustrator

We eagerly await the announcement of the winners.

Australian School Library Day

This year, to coincide with Book Week, the first annual Australian School Library Day will held on 24 August 2022 (the Wednesday of Book Week). The purpose of the day is to highlight and celebrate school libraries. What a great combination of celebrations of children’s literature, reading and libraries. The Australian School Library Day (ASLD) website has suggestions of how you can join in the celebration.

The following information was provided by Students Need School Libraries in their promotional brochure for the day.

“Did you know?

The School Library Association of Victoria first developed School Libraries Day as far back as 1994. It was an official day for lobbying for school libraries by targeting principals and politicians. By 1999, School Libraries Day went International and was adopted by the International Association of School Librarianship. 
It now exists as International School Library Month (ISLM), where each nation is encouraged to select their own day in October to celebrate school libraries.  This year’s ISLM theme is Reading for Global Peace and Harmony
How fantastic to see our Aussie school library staff having a global impact!”

I agree! I’m sure you do too.

Other great resources

Continue reading: Dreaming with Eyes Open CBCA BOOK WEEK 2022 – readilearn

Looking at Glass for National Science Week 13 – 21 August – #readilearn

The theme for National Science Week, which runs from 13 – 21 August this year, is Glass: more than meets the eye.

The theme supports the UN International Year of Glass and links to the Chemical sciences curriculum looking at materials, their properties, uses and the ways they can be changed as well as technology and sustainability.

Glass was chosen for an International Year to celebrate its essential role in society.

The National Science Week website has a lot of information for schools, including a free downloadable book of resources produced by the Australian Science Teachers Association. The book contains First Nations activities with links to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-curriculum priority, and has five different activities for Foundation to Year 2 classrooms:

  • Sugar glass decorations
  • Explore with a magnifying glass
  • Turn a window into a mirror
  • Make a kaleidoscope
  • Glass at home

These activities bring fun and meaning to the science curriculum and encourage children to ask their own questions for further investigations.

You can even put in your postcodes to discover what events are being held near you.

Properties and uses of glass

There is a great video about glass available on YouTube at this link: https://youtu.be/A6ZEaWvlz6k?t=255

Although the video may be too long and at too high a level to show our F – 2 children, it is useful for reminding ourselves of the many amazing properties and uses of glass. There are speeches at the beginning and end of the video which you may wish to listen to. However, I have set the link to begin where the information about glass begins (about 4.15). The information ends at about 22 minutes.

Twelve facts about glass

Continue reading: Looking at Glass for National Science Week 13 – 21 August – Readilearn

Say No to Plastic in Plastic-Free July – #readilearn

During the month of July, we are urged to go plastic-free, or at least reduce our use of single-use plastics, by the Plastic Free July Foundation with its vision of ridding the world of plastic waste. The website has many suggestions for reducing the plastic you use and waste. There are success stories and many resources to use to keep yourself motivated and encourage others to become involved.

This video gives a brief introduction to Plastic Free July.

In addition to this larger movement, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a young boy with his own inspiring story about what he is doing to reduce plastic waste, including working to have plastic toothbrushes banned. His name is Ned Heaton, and you can hear him talk about his project in this video.

More about Ned

Ned Heaton is a kid on a mission to reduce ocean plastics. At the age of 11 he started his own

bamboo toothbrush business, The Turtle Tribe, which he won awards for, including

Changemaker of the Year in the Be the Change Awards, and Young Entrepreneur Award in

the Youth Business Magazine. Featured on radio and television in Australia and around the

world, Ned is the youngest CEO ever mentioned in CEO Magazine.

Find out more about Ned and his wonderful initiative at https://www.theturtletribe.com.au/. (If you just want to read Ned’s story, click here.)

To inspire children, their teachers and their families to take action, Ned and his father wrote a picture book called Say No to Plastic, which is available for pre-order now.

About Say No to Plastic

Continue reading: Say No to Plastic in Plastic-Free July – readilearn