Sustainable Communities Act

Sheffield County Council are inviting proposals under the Sustainable Communities Act.

"This allows councils, after taking advice from local people, to put forward proposals for government action that will help local communities to be more sustainable and offer better quality of life."

You might consider a reading based proposal, what about some reading focused schools in Sheffield, as Michael Rosen has been promoting recently. Reading Matters would love to be involved in a project along these lines.

I cannot see a similar scheme in Rotherham, but a Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Panel is in place who you could contact.


Half Term Cartoons

If you have tried emailing or phoning me recently you will know I am way for half-term. I have been using my time wisely, yesterday we visited the hub in Sleaford to have a mooch round and check out the How Manga Took Over the World exhibition. It was very good much of material was produced in the UK including a lot by Tado based right here in Sheffield, most of it was very visual but with a good section on Manga Shakespeare which looked excellent, a dude in Macbeth had four arms!

As a quick follow-up I spotted this wonderful Monster Alphabet by Joey Ellis, the pdf version presents each letter on a page, perfect for printing out and using.


Why Reading Matters

We are a few days into Reading Week on BBC4. The items I have seen so far have been excellent, and it is worth tuning in if only to catch the repeats of the Picture Book series which I loved.

Michael Rosen presented a programme called Just Read, where he converted a nice normal school into a real reading factory, he didn't mention this when I met Michael a few weeks ago, must have been under an embargo! I don't watch a lot of these sorts of programmes, a few weeks ago I did see Gordon Ramsey use a record number of expletives to renovate a local Sheffield eatery. Michael Rosen's programme was in contrast, a joy to watch. The school staff were very receptive to ideas and parents and children really got stuck in, creating a real community of readers. We obviously don't have the dramatic time-period or celebrity drive, but Reading Matters is very much about instituting the sort of changes Michael was advocating.

Last night was a programme called Why Reading Matters (great title!) This was a scientific insight into how and why we read. The main message for me was that reading is not a 'hard-wired' instinctive behaviour, but one we must all must learn for ourselves. For me this indicated why we must let no child struggle with their reading, and in fact because our brains actually physically grow as we read you could argue a non-reading child's development will be severely inhibited.

[picture credit - kennymatic]


Getting Linking 2: Printable worksheets and other resources

[Update: I have gathered all posts like together under the title Getting Linking]

A little while ago I posted a list of some websites to use when thinking about activities to do with reading partners, well I have some more to share with you. These are mainly websites where you can print-off fun-sheets to use in reading sessions.

Time for Kids - The US based magazine has a wealth of worksheets, quizzes and more to print and use, organised by theme so you can find something of interest to your reading partner.

A to Z Teacher Stuff - Thousands of resources including tools to create your own worksheets such as word searches and word shapes (similar to the Wellington Square, trampoline exercise Reading Matters uses in it's training).

School Express - Even more worksheets, including some you can customise yourself.

Speakaboos - A small collection of very nicely presented worksheets, aimed at younger children, that can be used with videos that can be played online.

SEN Teacher - Printables - A good collection of worksheets and activities including some you can customise yourself.

Kid Printables - Lots of ads but use the menu to kind games and worksheets.

Get Worksheets - Loads of reading based worksheets, to access all the sheets a membership fee is needed.

[photo credit - Gaetan Lee]

Letter to Reading Matters Volunteers in Sheffield and Rotherham

I've recently written to all our volunteers with some news about future plans for our termly newsletter and new staff, you can read the letter online. but the main thing is that the Volunteer meeting for scheduled for 12 February 2009 has been postponed until after half term (March/April 2009).