Hi. I’m Tom, an Assistant Headteacher from Solihull and an avid reader. I am very passionate about reading and the importance of fostering a great love of reading from a young age – last year, I co-led an Open University/UKLA Reading for Pleasure teacher group for Solihull and Worcestershire schools. I am a big fan of detective thrillers, middle grade novels, picture books and graphic novels. I buy a lot of books but am also extremely lucky to work with some book publishers to review some of their upcoming releases.
I’m married with two young children so the days are pretty busy but that’s nothing better than relaxing with a good book and getting lost in another world. That might be why I love travelling too.
Recent Book Reviews
- Call of the Titanic – Lindsay GalvinYoung cabin steward, Sid, is proud to be working on the glamorous Titanic, which has set sail on its maiden voyage. Meanwhile, farmer’s daughter Clara has inadvertently ended up as a stowaway on the Carpathia after wanting to spend more time with her cousin, who is a Marconi Telegraph Operator. There, she bonds with theContinue reading “Call of the Titanic – Lindsay Galvin”
- My Bollywood Dream – Avani DwivediIt’s Friday night and as a little girl and her family head to the cinema, she imagines a Bollywood movie unfolding before her eyes… My #PictureBookFriday had to be My Bollywood Dream from first time picture book creator Avani Dwivedi as it is gorgeously illustrated with such a joyful story. Drawing on Avani’s own childhoodContinue reading “My Bollywood Dream – Avani Dwivedi”
- Rory’s Room of Rectangles – Ian Eagleton & Jessica KnightWelcome to my day on the review tour for Rory’s Room of Rectangles and I’m thrilled to share my thoughts today on this wonderful picture book. It’s Rory’s first Father’s Day without his dad living at home and while he likes his step-dad Tony (as well as his own dad), he is unsure who toContinue reading “Rory’s Room of Rectangles – Ian Eagleton & Jessica Knight”
- Welcome to Dead Town, Raven McKay blog tourWelcome to day 3 of the blog tour for Welcome to Dead Town, Raven McKay and I’m thrilled to have its author, Eibhlís Carcione, share a piece with us today all about ghosts in children’s books. If you haven’t seen my review of this quirky, gripping story then check it out here. Thank you EibhlísContinue reading “Welcome to Dead Town, Raven McKay blog tour”
- Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna JamesTilly’s idea of her mum was stitched together from a patchwork of old photos and other people’s memories. No one knew where Beatrice Pages had gone, and this lack of facts meant that the hole her mother had left had torn, ragged edges that were slow to knit back together. Tilly had almost given upContinue reading “Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James”
Whole Class Reading activities
Having moved away from guided reading to whole class reading, I have created whole class reading activities for Year 4 (but easily adaptable for other year groups). Each text has 4 days worth of activities: Day 1 is vocabulary (ensuring key language is understood first), Day 2 is reading the extract and discussion time, Day 3 is comprehension questions using VIPERS and then Day 4 is a task around an element of VIPERS e.g. an inference or prediction task.
By focusing on one text per week during lockdown, we’ve had great engagement from the children and it’s widened their knowledge of current texts. All the resources are available in my Dropbox (available here). Here’s what you’ll find:
– The Shark Caller (Zillah Bethell) – Vi Spy (Maz Evans) – Amari and the Night Brothers (B.B. Alston) – The Boy Who Met A Whale (Nizrana Farook) – The Night Bus Hero (Onjali Q Rauf) – The Castle of Tangled Magic (Sophie Anderson) – The Valley of Lost Secrets (Lesley Parr) – Murder Most Unladylike (Robin Stevens) – Malamander (Thomas Taylor) – The Highland Falcon Thief (Sam Sedgman & M G Leonard) – Return to Roar (Jenny McLachlan) – Musical lyrics (Hamilton, Matilda & Dear Evan Hansen).
I am currently creating unseen texts for Year 6. So far there’s recent releases from Crater Lake (Jennifer Killick) to The Christmas Carrolls (Mel Taylor-Bessent) to When the War Came Home (Lesley Parr): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gu42vpgbzkrt5qb/AACg0djr92GYgrk68orlaTsRa?dl=0