Category Archives: English

The strangeness in the sky

Creatures we can’t understand doing things we can just about fathom.

A young girl giant strolling across the sky saw an orange and decided to lick it.  She found it was nice and so licked it more and more, and gradually she began to lick the orange away.

Slowly she ate more and more of it, until her father saw what she was doing and said, “You mustn’t eat that in daytime.  All the little people on the world below use that orange as a way of staying warm.  Put it back at once.”

The young giant was unhappy to have caused a problem, and besides she didn’t like to be told off by her dad.  But she couldn’t put the orange back because she had already licked some of it.  So she asked her dad to help.

“Come on,” said the giant dad, seeing his daughter was worried.  “We can put it back bit by bit, so those funny little people on the planet will hardly notice. 

For the next five minutes the giant and his daughter rebuilt the orange bit by bit until it was back to the round orange that it was before.

When the job was done the giant and his daughter looked at the orange giving out its light for the little people below, and they were happy that the problem had been resolved.  “Now promise me you won’t do that again,” said the giant, and his daughter agreed.

“And one more thing, go and tell all your brothers and sisters about this and make them promise that they won’t ever lick the orange in the sky.”

Dutifully the giant’s daughter did this, and eventually she told everyone except one of her brothers as he was away on holiday.  He never got the message not to eat the big orange in the sky, and two years later he came back and the problem started again.

Of course, that story isn’t a classic myth but it has some of the basic ingredients of something taken from our life and then creatures we can’t understand doing very human like things while living up in the sky (or sometimes underground).

Myths and legends are part of our heritage; tales of strange creatures doing human like things.  Which is why we have produced the book Understanding Myths and Legends containing 27 stories from countries around the World.  Stories that can be used to support topic work in history and RE or used as part of a unit of work in literacy.  

For more information on Understanding Myths and Legends please visit:

https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/understanding-myths-and-legends-415

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 2, PSHE, Religious education (RE)

Why do we teach children how to read?

And how can we use this knowledge to improve our pupils’ level of reading?

Too often it is thought that a fluent reader is a good reader but if your pupils have no or very little understanding of what they are reading, their ability to read (fluently or not) is essentially useless.

Which is why Brilliant Publications has produced the Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension Series – to help your pupils to comprehend the texts that they can read but not necessarily understand.

Each activity book in the series includes newspaper articles, dialogues, plays, stories and poems based on a range of themes, with activities ranging from factual recall and vocabulary work to open-ended questions.

What’s more, the cross–curricular activities provide a wealth of ideas for extending the passages further, making them ideal for mixed-ability classes.

For more information (and to see sample pages) or to order the complete Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension Series for £95.00, visit www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/brilliant-activities-for-reading-comprehension-series-pack-2nd-edition-518

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Primary school

Are your children watching the Europa League Final tonight in Baku?

Football is fun for so many children and it provides rich resources for reluctant readers. No matter who wins tonight, Arsenal or Chelsea, for many people it will the source of fun, discussion and disagreement. Sheila Blackburn has written a series of stories about football specifically designed for reluctant readers in promote schools. As you will know, one of the challenges with reluctant readers is capturing their attention and imagination. Stories about football are one solution to this, particularly when as well written as these ones and at a time when UK teams will win the Europa League and the Champions League.

Sam’s Football Stories are specially written to stimulate and motivate slower learners and reluctant readers. Written by Sheila Blackburn, an experienced primary school teacher, the six compelling stories in Set A, tell the story of Sam, a football crazy boy. Let your pupils follow this dream come true for Sam and his friends. Join in the fun and excitement as they begin training, pick a team, join a league and enter a tournament.

 

These books:

  • provide stimulation and motivation especially for slower learners and reluctant readers
  • have gripping story lines make children want to read the next book
  • are compatible with the Primary Literacy Strategy category of everyday stories
  • are designed to look like books more able readers are reading with attractive covers and black and white illustrations inside
  • have carefully controlled vocabulary and sentence structure for easy reading
  • have an increasing number of words per book as you progress through the series
  • have a clear font and print style

To extend the stories further, use the Teacher’s Guide – Your Chance to Score!, a photocopiable teacher resource linked to the stories in Set A.

Like to try before you buy? Request your free copy of the e-book Football Crazy, the first story in the series, now by emailing info@brilliantpublications.co.uk

Click here to find out more about the books

Click here to see a sample page.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, National Curriculum, Primary school, Reluctant reader, reluctant readers, slow reader, Teaching Ideas, textbooks

Knowing is one thing, understanding is another

Knowing good grammar is one thing but understanding grammar is something else entirely.

The single most powerful way that one can express oneself is by using one’s own words. And whilst it may appear that young people can express themselves orally or in writing when explicitly asked to do so, how many of them are truly using their own words, as opposed to those copied from others?

It is only when children are taught why we speak and write the way we do, through grammar and punctuation lessons, that they can develop the skills needed to manipulate words and sentences to make them their own – enabling them to clearly and uniquely express themselves in their Literacy lessons and beyond.

Getting to Grips with English Grammar is a series for teaching grammar to pupils in Years 1-6, written by Charlotte Makhlouf, author of our best-selling series, Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension.

The Getting to Grips with English Grammar series is built on the premise that pupils need to put grammar and punctuation rules to the test in both their reading and writing in order to understand grammar and its subsequent impact.

This brand-new activity book series integrates engaging reading comprehension passages and writing tasks with accompanying activities. The grammar is introduced in a systematic way and concepts are revisited as you progress through the scheme to ensure firm understanding.

For more information and to see sample pages, simply visit the links below.

Getting to Grips with English Grammar for…

  • Year 1 (£19.99) Buy Now! 
  • Year 2 (£19.99) Buy Now! 
  • Year 3 (£19.99) Buy Now!
  • Year 4 (£19.99) Buy Now!
  • Year 5 (£19.99) Release Date: End of June 2019 – Add to Wishlist
  • Year 6 (£19.99) Release Date: End of June 2019 – Add to Wishlist

Click here to add the complete series (£95.00) to your Wishlist.

Can’t wait until end of June 2019? Buy Getting to Grips with English Grammar for Years 1-4 now by visiting the above links.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Primary school

What is the easiest way to help and encourage children to write using varied sentence structures?

It is difficult to think of much in the English language that is more complex than a sentence.

It can be short.  It can alternatively be very long and involve all sorts of diversions along the way before reaching its final conclusion, which in this case might be that it is the sheer variety of sentence structures that cause the problem with teaching sentence structure.

And having written that sentence, we might then think it was too complex anyway.

But whatever way we look at it, by 11 pupils of all abilities are expected to be able to write using varied sentence structures.

Thus the question arises: what is the most effective way of helping children meet this aim of being able to write in this manner?

Answering this question is made all the harder to answer because many children do seem to pick up the concept of varied sentence structures simply from their reading and from hearing varied adult conversation.

So we’ve been working on this issue for some time, and we’ve come up with a series of ready-made 15-minute sessions that build on each other.

By completing the daily sessions, pupils will have at their fingertips a system for creating imaginative and interesting writing in as little as six weeks.  As a result attainment within all ability ranges increases.

And there is one added bonus. For most children exposure to the 15 minute sessions not only shows them how to write varied, meaningful sentences, but it also raises confidence and self-esteem, thus enhancing achievement in all school subjects that are language based.

There are more details on how the “Daily Sentence Structure” programme works here.

The programme is available as a printed book and an ebook and can be ordered from our website. www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/daily-sentence-structures-2nd-edition-667

If you have any questions please do contact us. Our details are on our website: https://www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/contact-us

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, homework, Key Stage 2, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

From one oxymoron to another

It could be argued that any creative writing that your pupils are required to undertake as part of the curriculum is something of an oxymoron. You must encourage your pupils to think outside the box whilst providing evidence that they can use fronted adverbials, adjective-packed noun phrases, and other grammatical structures.

Moving from one oxymoron to another, the Brilliant Activities for Creative Writing Series Pack will help pupils to understand how to plan their writing whilst allowing their imagination to run freely by encouraging them to talk about their ideas, try out sentences orally, and listen to others’ comments about their work. What could be more of an oxymoron than encouraging children to talk in a writing lesson!?

With meaningful discussion and careful questioning from yourself, your pupils’ writing skills will flourish.

Click here for more information and to see sample pages

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school

Dr Jekyll was a nice man, really …

There are two reactions when people know my job; I’ve started to wonder if I’m both Jekyll and Hyde, at the same time.

It is not so much that people ask me what I do, it is rather that when they hear what my job is, they make assumptions.

You see: I’m a publisher.  To some that makes me one of the good guys.  To others I’m evil incarnate.  Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in fact.  Both at the same time.

Dr Jekyll, the old friend, the nice guy, the one who helps people out; I publish books teachers quite like, and indeed, if you fancy writing a book, it is possible I can bring it to the attention of teachers all over the UK.

Edward Hyde, on the other hand, evil personified; he’ll probably take your book, eat it, and then set fire to your house.

Now, to explain….  I don’t think I am suffering from dissociative identity disorder (although on the other hand, if I am, how would I know?) which was the condition that Robert Louis Stephenson was told by others he was in fact writing about.

Stephenson later said he was so appalled at the idea that he was describing an actual medical condition rather than an allegory, he burned the original Jekyll and Hyde manuscript and started again.  (There’s no evidence for this, but it all adds to the book mystique; it was probably dreamed up by his publisher’s head of publicity.)

But no; when teachers send me books to consider for publication I do not burn them.  Not at all.  Never.  Not once.  Really.  Not at all.

No, my colleagues and I read the outlines and if we like the outline and think we could sell a fair number of copies, we ask to see the whole book.  Then if we still like it, we arrange for printing or creating an e-book.  Then we advertise it a lot, all at our own expense, and then we pay the author a fee for each book sold.

Edward Hyde, had he been a publisher, would, I suspect, have killed off each of his writers.  If you are worried about this you can look me up on the police database.  No charges for attempted murder of authors on file.

So that’s my point: we are the good guys – the Dr Jekyll without the propensity for assassinations or personality changing potions.

And indeed as the good guys we have even published a Graphic Revision Guide for The Strange Case of Dr J and Mr H, suitable for GCSE Literature students.

I’d recommend you have a look – although preferably without first dabbling with any strange potions.

And if you fancy writing a book for us, there are details of how to go about submitting it here.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 4, National Curriculum, Secondary school