Category Archives: readilearn

Picture Books about the Environment — a selection – #readilearn

Sharing picture books with young children is one of my favourite things. Picture books can fill children’s minds with wonder, curiosity and imagination, and their hearts with love. Picture books lead them gently into the world beyond their own front doors. They allow children to explore the previously unexplored in the comfort and safety of their own familiar surroundings, at home or at school.

In this post, I share some books that will help children develop an interest in and concern for the environment through reading and discussion.

Ethicool Books

A good place to start is with publisher Ethicool Books. I recently interviewed Stuart French, the founder, who explained their goal of engaging children in discussions about issues such as climate change, ocean pollution, poverty and gender equality through stories told in their beautiful picture books. While you can find a full list of their books on their website, these are some of my favourites:

Remembering Mother Nature by Stuart French introduces children to the concept of Mother Nature and encourages them to take an active interest in the environment and help to save the planet.

My Rainforest Classroom by Stuart French introduces children to the beauty of the world’s environments and its inhabitants. It shows how easily the environment can be damaged and urges them to take action to protect it.

Continue reading: Picture Books about the Environment — a selection – Readilearn

Meet author Karen Tyrrell and the fifth exciting Song Bird Superhero adventure: Drought Rescue – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to reintroduce you to Karen Tyrrell with the fifth of her books in the Song Bird Superhero series. Each of the books in the series encourages children to believe in themselves and their ability to make a positive difference.

In each adventure, Song Bird tackles a problem facing a different environment and empowers children with knowledge they can use to protect our precious world.

With World Environment Day occurring tomorrow on 5 June, Karen couldn’t have picked a better time to launch her book.

About Karen Tyrrell

Karen Tyrrell is an award-winning author and former teacher who coordinated science at her school. Karen and hubby, Steve won an Arts Queensland stART grant to travel to Winton and Longreach to research Song Bird: Drought Rescue.

As a girl, Karen dreamed of flying. Now she soars via alter ego Song Bird, superhero. Karen’s eleven books connect children with their inner superheroes. Her characters empower kids to live strong, develop team-building skills and grow resilience to deal with bullying.

Karen lives in Brisbane, Quensland, where she presents FUN storytelling sessions and creative writing workshops at schools, libraries and festivals.

Kids Helpline supports Karen’s books, STOP the Bully and Bailey Beats the Blah. The Queensland Department of Environment and Science supports Song Bird: Rainforest Rescue and Song Bird: Great Barrier Reef Rescue.

About Song Bird: Drought Rescue

Continue reading: Meet author Karen Tyrrell and the fifth exciting Song Bird Superhero adventure: Drought Rescue – readilearn

Tiny Flying Insects #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes tiny flying insects. Think about how the insects shape the scene or add to the action. Go where the prompt leads!

Like many, I have a love-hate relationship with tiny flying insects. I love some. I hate some. Well, perhaps hate is too strong a word. I dislike their presence but appreciate their contribution to the environment, whether it be as decomposers or valuable food source.

My love list includes:

  • butterflies
  • bees
  • ladybirds
  • dragonflies

My not-so-much list includes:

  • cockroaches
  • flies
  • mosquitos
  • midges

These two groups probably lie at either end of the continuum with thousands more in between.

My fascination with these tiny creatures can be easily evidenced on readilearn, my collection of teaching resources for the first three years of school, where there are numerous resources devoted to minibeasts, especially bees, butterflies, and ladybirds.

Keeping caterpillars in the classroom and watching them progress through their life stages until metamorphosing into adult butterflies was one of the children’s and my favourite things. It is a wonderful way to enable children to see nature close up and develop an appreciation for these tiny creatures and their contribution to the environment. It encourages them to look more closely and with more wonder when exploring the outdoors.

It would be easy to write a story about one of the tiny flying insects that I love and more of a challenge to write about one that I love not-quite-so-much. However, I have previously written a story about a fly for an (imaginary) audience of young children. I share a 99-word synopsis of that story in response to Charli’s challenge. Let’s see what you think of it.

BBQ the Fly

Named for their favourite thing, BBQ’s parents farewelled their son on his first independent foray.

“You can! Avoid the can!” they called. BBQ had trained relentlessly, perfecting every manoeuvre — walking on ceilings, buzzing people and, especially, dodging the dreaded spray.

BBQ’s antennae zeroed in on a backyard barbecue where he chose a juicy sausage for his ritual dance. He had just extended his proboscis when a swarm muscled in. Through the crowd, one of his compound eyes caught the glint of something metallic —a can!

He retracted his proboscis and escaped just as the spray downed the unfortunate swarm.

Thank you blog post

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

Promoting Care of Our Environment in June – #readilearn

Every day is a good day for caring for our environment and for ensuring that the next generation accept their role in doing so with enthusiasm. However, in June, some days provide an opportunity for participating in an international movement focusing on the environment:

5 June World Environment Day

8 June World Oceans Day

22 June World Rainforest Day

Although Queensland Day on 6 June is not specifically about the environment, I’ve included it as it’s a celebration of my home state.

5 June World Environment Day

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore” focusing on ecosystem restoration.

You can find out more about how to be involved on the website and download a free Ecosystem Restoration Playbook here.

There are numerous readilearn resources about minibeasts and other animals such as turtles and alpacas to support learning about the environment and biodiversity. These can all be found in the science biology resources.

The teaching ideas for the International Year of Plant Health also support learning about the environment.

8 June World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is a day for celebrating, protecting and conserving the world’s oceans. ‘The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.’

The theme for 2021 is ‘One Ocean, One Climate, One Future — Together”.

Here at readilearn we have many turtle-themed resources which are suitable for celebrating World Oceans Day, including:

Continue reading: Promoting Care of Our Environment in June – Readilearn

Let’s Meet Alison McLennan and her Hotel for Bees – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Australian author Alison McLennan and her beautiful picture book Hotel for Bees.

About Alison McLennan

Alison McLennan has written three picture books, Hotel for Bees (State Library of Qld 2020), Growing Pains (EK Books 2021) and Great and Small (Storytorch Press, coming October 2022). Her graphic novel, A Flood in the Village, was published by Library For All as part of their natural disaster education series. Her short stories have appeared in the School Magazine and the Spooktakular Stories Anthology. She is a proud member of SCBWI and Qld Writelinks, a mother of two teenagers and a fur baby. She is also a singer and voiceover artist.

About Hotel for Bees

Continue reading: Let’s Meet Alison McLennan and her Hotel for Bees – readilearn

Let’s Get Buzzing for World Bee Day – #readilearn

World Bee Day will be celebrated next week on 20 May.  The purpose of World Bee Day is to celebrate these wonderful pollinators upon whom we are so dependent, and not just for their delicious honey. Without bees, there’d be a lot less, and many fewer varieties of, food for us to eat.

Note: As for all videos, I recommend you watch them first to ascertain suitability before sharing them with your class.

The World Bee Day website contains useful advice and many resources to assist your involvement in the day, including a fun waggle dance challenge you and your children will enjoy.

Continue reading: Let’s Get Buzzing for World Bee Day – readilearn

Salih — A Refugee Story of Hope by Inda Ahmad Zahri – #readilearn

Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to author Inda Ahmad Zahri and her debut picture book Salih.

Salih will tear at your heartstrings and fill you with hope as we follow a journey from a war-ravaged home to a new land of promise.

About Inda Ahmad Zahri

Inda Ahmad Zahri believes in a world of wonder. Her stories are inspired by natural and cultural gems curated from her travels and lovingly added to her Malaysian heritage.

She is also a surgical doctor, swapping her writer’s hat and paintbrush for scrubs and scalpel when duty calls.

About Salih

Like a turtle, Salih carries his home on his back. He must cross a raging sea in search of a safe home. Salih paints his happiest memories and sends them as messages in bottles. Will someone find them and understand? Will Salih find a new home?

My response to Salih

I was captivated by the blurb (shared above).

It immediately tugs at our hearts. We feel Salih’s pain and his need, his hope upon hope that someone will understand and that he will find a new safe home.

When there are so many displaced people in our world, our communities and our classrooms, this book provides us all with an opportunity

Continue reading: Salih — A Refugee Story of Hope by Inda Ahmad Zahri – readilearn

Innovating on the nursery rhyme Row, Row, Row Your Boat – #readilearn

Innovating on familiar nursery rhymes and songs is an easy and fun way to encourage children to think creatively, to develop their writing skills and extend their vocabularies. There are many ways in which Row, Row, Row Your Boat can be used for these purposes. In this post, I share just some of them.

Rhyming words

stream/dream

What other words rhyme with stream and dream? List them.

beam, cream, gleam, meme, ream, seem, team

row

What other words rhyme with row? List them.

bow, blow, crow, dough, flow, go, hoe, Joe, know, low, mow, so, slow, show, tow, though, woe

Synonyms and alternatives

Substitute synonyms or other words to sing or write new versions.

Continue reading: Innovating on the nursery rhyme Row, Row, Row Your Boat – readilearn

The Importance of Daydreaming and Imagination — a Guest Post by #Josh Langley – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Australian author and illustrator Josh Langley who advocates for children’s mental health, including developing their self-esteem, friendship skills and creativity through his books and online course. These topics are close to my heart and regularly appear in our readilearn posts and feature in our teaching resources.

With next Wednesday 21 April being World Creativity and Innovation Day, I thought now was the perfect time to share with you Josh’s recent post Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Let Kids Daydream.

First let me tell you a little about Josh.

About Josh:

Josh is author of the award winning ‘Being You is Enough’ books series for kids and promotes positive mental and emotional health messages for kids through his books, presentations, primary school talks, videos, charity work and courses, like ‘Here I am!’.

Josh says,

After suffering childhood trauma, I feel driven to make sure kids don’t ever have to feel like I did. That’s why I want to give them the emotional and mental skills to be resilient to what is thrown at them and the inner knowing that they are ok the way they are. And the only way I can do that is in my own fun and unique way! Thankfully parents and kids love it.”

About Josh’s Books

Continue reading: The Importance of Daydreaming and Imagination — a Guest Post by #Josh Langley – readilearn

Having fun with Haiku Poetry in the Classroom – #readilearn

Next Saturday 17 April is Haiku Poetry Day. Why not prepare for the day, by reading and writing haiku during the week leading up to it, or for those of us in Australia still on school holidays, celebrate the week after. Of course, any time is good for reading and writing haiku — no excuse is needed.

What is Haiku?

Haiku is a short poem of only three lines with a very structured form. There only 17 syllables in the entire poem:

five on the first line 

seven syllables come next

and five on the third 

The purpose of the haiku is to capture a brief moment in time. Traditionally, it is written about the seasons but can be used to write poems on any topic. Haiku poetry often concludes with a feeling or observation. Sometimes the feeling is not explicit but is left for the reader to interpret.

What is a syllable?

Before you begin to teach your children to write haiku, they need to know what a syllable is. Whether you are teaching or revising syllables, readilearn has some resources to support you, including:

Continue reading: Having fun with Haiku Poetry in the Classroom – readilearn