Welcome to Check ‘Em Out Books!

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

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