Where We Started
When we first received our passports and started planning for our Reading Journey with the First Minister’s Reading Challenge back in September, we had no idea about the strange and intriguing lands we would stop off at on the way. As we only have about 400 words or so, here are just some of our highlights and recommendations should you be planning a literary trip!
As a class we weren’t all enthusiastic readers to begin with. In fact, half of us only ever read our school reading books – which we can’t honestly say was always a choice or a pleasure! Then we started P6 and the First Minister’s Reading Challenge changed everything.
Our journey began with pre-revolutionary Russia thanks to Katherine Rundell’s Wolf Wilder. Along with our reading mascot, a rather fearsome wolf puppet named Lupin, we shivered in the biting cold, cried, laughed, rode on wolves and were outraged at injustice along with the half-wild heroine, Feo. We created character profiles, extended our vocabulary and thought hard about how to get emotion into our own writing. By the end of this book we were exhausted, but hungry for more book adventures!
Ancient Mesopotamia and a sinister modern town were next with the action-packed Varjak Paw by SF Said. This was a tale of courage, friendship and self- discovery… for cats. We learnt The Way and created our own Scottish characters – while being freaked out by The Gentlemen and his unnatural black felines.
To lighten the mood we visited a land of shapes with Jon Klassen’s Triangle. We watched Jon’s Authors Live session and were inspired to look at how as an illustrator you could convey emotion simply by changing the position or shape of eyes. Inspired, we created group picture books using some of Jon’s signature ideas but with entirely new characters and storylines. Some even managed to have a moral in their ending, but all were great fun!
Monsters were the theme of our Highland stop off with the wonderful Scots book The Boy and The Bunnet by James Robertson. We created our own versions of an Urisk, describing it in Scots and illustrating it in great detail - and winning a great bundle of books along the way!
Our next stop was the noisy, colourful, totally unnatural world of Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans! We made our own Wimbly Woos as well as Wed Wabbit propaganda posters, thinking about what makes a good or bad leader as well as grief, friendship, bravery, compassion and guilt. Lots of big emotions to explore in the company of coloured talking dustbins!
Where We Are Now
We are not yet finished our journey, but already we can confidently say that we all love to read for enjoyment, and are picking our own books to read. We are even making recommendations for each other on our Book Advisor wall display!
To quote Orrin, “I never used to read books at all, but now I can’t stop!”
Stella says “I’m reading lots of different kinds of books now – even non-fiction!” and Alex says “Before I always looked for the smallest, fastest read but now I love longer novels!” and Finlay says “I just can’t stop reading now!”
I think this may well be just the start of a very long, enjoyable and unpredictable journey.
If your class or specific pupils in your class have had an important or memorable reading experience this year, make sure they share it with us by entering the Pupil Reading Journey challenge. Entries can be in any format, and we really encourage creativity!
The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 2 May 2018. To find out more about submitting an entry to the Reading Challenge, check out A Busy Teacher's Guide to Entering the Reading Challenge.