Video Games

When trying to engage a struggling or reluctant reader, computer games can often be a less intimidating approach than a hefty tome or badly photo-copied activity sheet. I've spotted a few interactive online resources that might be of interest:
  • Root, an interactive spy story - This project started this week, new chapters of Root will be published every day for six weeks. Any one can get involved and influence the story by solving mysteries, foiling plans and eavesdropping into conversations!
  • The Binary - A brilliantly presented online adventure, like an interactive book.
  • Book Worm Adventures - A role-playing word game involving building words and battling monsters.
  • Build your own Book Mobile - This one is a bit more 'old school', download, cut out and stick together your own beautiful mobile library.
  • Word Fighter - This isn't out yet, but looks too cool for words (bad pun). 
I guess the inspiration for this post was the song I am kind of in love with at the moment, Video Games by Lana Del Rey. Song lyrics are another great idea to read with a partner, try googling their favourite song.

Have fun.


New Reading Matters Office in Sheffield

Reading Matters office in Sheffield has moved. We are now at:
Reading Matters
Scotia Works
Leadmill Road
S1 4SE
Tel: 0114 241 2743
Please update your address books.

This new location at Scotia Works is a wonderful location next to Sheffield Railway station, with some great training spaces that would be perfect for Reading Matters training. Reading Matters specialises in one-to-one support to motivate young people to reach their potential by becoming confident and enthusiastic readers. We provide support via:
  • adults as volunteer reading mentors
  • young people as reading leaders
  • parents and carers to help their own families
  • professional staff with a responsibility for literacy
Get in touch if this sounds of interest, it would be great to hear from you.


My Name is O by Sam Enthoven, and Pale by Chris Wooding

I have received proof copies of two dystopian stories out in January 2012,  My Name is O by Sam Enthoven, and  Pale by Chris Wooding.

My Name is O, is set entirely in the Bank of England as O tells the reader of his daring break-in and the reason for it. We learn directly from O that he/she "was born in a special breeding programme run by our secret masters", the implication is that the reader is as much a part of this controlled society as O. But O has been singled out for particular conditioning, but without his masters knowledge he has "built a personality". O starts out pretty cocky, but gets more and more out of his depth, he doesn't understand his situation as much as he thinks. It's a gripping tale, set over a short time period in a single location, but very much part of a wider, scary world.

In contrast Pale, covers a long time period. In fact Jed grows, dies and comes back to live another life within the 69 pages. It is set in another scary world, in a future where some people can be resurrected as Pales. The Pales are completely shunned by regular society; jealousy, fear and ignorance all play a part. Sometimes feelings are understandable, it's hard to argue with a statement like "dead kids shouldn't be allowed to go to school". But it's clear people need to learn to deal with these new members of society. Jed, our narrator sees both sides. I hope I am not spoiling it by telling you he dies on page 16! It is tale of violence, betrayal and hatred with a gripping conclusion of rescue and revelation.

In both books, and like in all good Science Fiction, they tell us as much about our own lives as those of the characters in the fantasy settings. Pale in particular seems to be all about current news-worthy themes of immigration, religious differences and human rights. I think they would provide lots of discussion in reading partnerships.


Sheffield Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer 2011

A few weeks ago we had a celebration event for the Sheffield Volunteers who supported the Summer Reading Challenge in 2011 and their parents. It was a great event. With each of the volunteers presented with a certificate and goodie bag by Dr Sylvia Dunkley, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield.
I have just got this great photo and a wonderful quote from one of the volunteers:
I want to say thanks to you [all] for the ceremony. It was a great and unforgettable experience.
I agree, it was a lovely evening. Everyone was great!