for writers and readers….

Do you know someone starting school next week?

My first dayStarting school is  probably one of the biggest changes we have to deal with and it’s not just about getting used to new routines, people and surroundings (although at five those are pretty big things). It’s also about gradually coming to understand that you and your family are not the axis on which the world rotates: it is a bigger, harder, scarier and richer in experience than you had ever imagined.

BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, have put together a reading list (for shared reading naturally) to help prepare children for the first day. I’ve posted it below and yes, I know it’s is a bit late as most will be starting in the next few days, if they haven’t already, but I think that reflecting on what has happened is just as useful as anticipating what will happen.

It seems to me that as a child (and sometimes as an adult) we can know things without  knowing them. I’m thinking about an incident from my own childhood which sounds more traumatic than it was. I was about four and staying on my grandparents’ farm. For weeks everyone (or so it seemed) were talking about the day the butcher would come from town to kill the pig. Later I must have been told that this was the last time it happened: it had already been planned that in the future animals from the family farm would be taken to an abattoir.

I caught the specialness of the day. I was excited and ran around shouting we’re going to kill the pig. The man from town arrived and my mother took my sister and I far enough away so we couldn’t see what was happening. But we could still hear. I hadn’t known that we were going to kill the pig. I understood all the individual words and knew too what was meant when they were put into a sentence, but the knowledge was only skin deep, it hadn’t sunk in.

I am too Absolutely Small small for school
I mention this incident because I think school, and all that it involves, takes time to sink in and that’s why the BookTrust’s list has value after the first day as well as before. And reading these books could be the start of a conversation: Was your first day like that? Did that happen to you?

First day at Skeleton School

BookTrust Starting School Reading List

My First Day Leilani Sparrow, illustrated by Dan Taylor. Boxer Books Interest age: 3-5, Reading age: 4-6)

Never Take a Bear to School Mark Sperring, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. Orchard Books (Interest age: 3-6, Reading age: 5-7

Twit Twoo School: Mouse’s Big Day Lydia Monks. Macmillan (Interest age: 3-6, Reading age: 5-6)

First Day at Skeleton School Sam Lloyd. Bloomsbury Interest age: 3-6, Reading age: 5-6

I am Too Absolutely Small for School
Lauren Child. Hachette
Interest age: 3+ Reading age: 6+

Alfie and the Big Boys
Shirley Hughes. Random House
Interest age: 3 – 8 Reading age: 6+

Harry and the Dinosaurs go to School
Ian Whybrow Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds. Penguin
Interest age: 3+ Reading age: 5+

First Week at Cow School
Andy Cutbill Illustrated by Russell Ayto. HarperCollins Children’s Books
Interest age: 2+ Reading age: 5+

Topsy and Tim Start School
Jean Adamson.  Ladybird
Interest age: 3-5 Reading age: 3+

Starting School
Allan Ahlberg. Penguin
Interest age: 3-5

Meg Comes to School
Helen Nicoll. Illustrator Jan Pienkowski. Puffin
Interest age: 3-5

Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo
Emma Chichester Clark.  HarperCollins Children’s Books
Interest age: 4+ Reading age: 5+

A Big Day for Migs!
Jo Hodgkinson. Andersen Press
Interest age: 3+ Reading age: 5+

Hugless Douglas Goes to School
David Melling. Hodder Children’s Books
Interest age: 4+ Reading age: 5+

Bunny Loves to Learn
Peter Bently Illustrated by Emma Foster and Deborah Melmon. Parragon Books
Interest age: 6+ Reading age: 5-8

Jellybean Goes to School
Margaret Roc Illustrated by Laura Hughes. Tamarind
Interest age: 3+ Reading age: 7+

school girl


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This entry was posted on September 2, 2017 by in News and tagged , , , .


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