Category Archives: English

Why do we have creative writing?

The imaginative use of words within a story goes back to the earliest days of humanity.  And it still serves a purpose today.

Humankind has always told stories.  Everything from cave pictures to monuments like Stonehenge, from tales told around the flickering fire to the greatest cathedrals tell us about events, locations, and people that we cannot see.

Indeed it appears to be fundamental to our human psyches to want to hear stories, and as a result there is every reason for all of us to want to tell them too. 

For the ability to appreciate and explore this basic human instinct comes from our own experiences of making up stories of our own.   Indeed such invention allows us to share our experiences and entertain others as we seek to make sense of the mysterious world around us.

But, of course, storytelling does not come naturally to us all, and many children – especially those with special needs – require additional support if the skill is to be nurtured and developed.

For the storyteller needs to consider key issues such as where the story takes place, who or what is in this place, are there animals here that have human characteristics.  Or could it be an object that has feelings?

And in worlds where everything is possible, how can we express ourselves?  What new words and expressions do we need?  How does the story evolve?  What is happening around our central event or person?  What happens next?

Most children – irrespective of their needs and abilities – only come to understand the exploration of such issues through being prompted via their own story writing, which is why the “Boost Creative Writing” series exists. 

The activities here provide the support and help that children of differing abilities need, and you can see how we achieve this through the examples from the series on our website where you will also find details of how to order.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, How children learn, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

Proven ways of improving your children's creative writing

The Boost Creative Writing series of books teaches the Programmes of Study for writing composition in the 2014 National Curriculum for England.

The activities provide additional reinforcement of key skills for slower learners. We all know that SEN pupils and slower learners need extra support to help them to become confident writers. The structured planning sheets in Boost Creative Writing provide SEN pupils with non-prescriptive writing scaffolds, giving them the support they need. The sheets cover a range of writing genres, from stories and poems to book reviews and newspaper reports.

The Boost Creative Writing Years 5-6 (ages 9-11) includes a handy Tips for Writing booklet that can be copied and bound to make a useful reference booklet for pupils, or the pages may be copied individually and can be given to your children as and when required

There are 3 books in the series – each one covers 2 year groups. The books can be bought at a discount as a set or can be bought individually. They are also available as e-pdfs which can be projected onto white boards for whole class teaching. The e-pdfs can be downloaded from our website as soon as your payment has been received.

Reluctant writers often struggle with the organization of their ideas.  Visual learners have lots of imaginative ideas but struggle with the sequence of events and getting them down on paper. Logical systematic learners can sequence ideas but might struggle to develop them creatively. The planning sheets are designed to provide support for every type of learner, as well as saving you time and helping each and every child to improve their creative writing skills.

Written by Judith Thornby, an experienced Learning Support Coordinator, the sheets have been extensively trialled and tested.They have been shown to boost children’s writing skills, give pupils confidence and make them believe that they can write. While designed for SEN pupils these sheets can, and have, been used by pupils of all abilities.

You can order ‘Boost Creative Writing in any of these ways:
• On our website: www.brilliantpublications.co.uk
• By phone on 01449 766629
• By fax on 01449 767122
• By email to orders@tradecounter.co.uk

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Filed under English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, National Curriculum, Primary school

Free activity materials from the Grammar and Punctuation Series Pack

Take advantage of these free activity materials from the Grammar and Punctuation Series Pack

Year 1: Nouns are names

Year 2: Noisy verbs

Year 3: Preposition opposites

Year 4: The Problem of ‘me’ or ‘I’

Year 5: Hyphens

Year 6 Words that help your writing

Request your free worksheets

The Grammar and Punctuation Series Pack contains six photocopiable books (one for each year group) and teaches grammatical and punctuation concepts in a fun and memorable way which will challenge and stimulate the whole class.

The sheets are designed for the practice, reinforcement and consolidation of grammar and punctuation skills and they address the requirements laid out in the Programmes of Study in the September 2014 National Curriculum.

The books will provide you with the tools you need to teach grammar effectively, including an assessment checklist, and will complement other language and literacy schemes of work.

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

The trouble with reading …

Reading incorporates two activities. But what is the most successful way of pulling these two elements together?

Most of us working in primary schools will have witnessed children who have the ability to decode texts at an appropriate level for their age, but who find it hard to grasp and hold the meaning of that text at the same time.

As a result they cannot engage in activities that build upon their reading, because they simply don’t have enough of an immediate understanding of what they have read.

In such cases what is happening is that the brain is working to translate each pattern of letters into a word, but because so much effort is put into this activity the brain does not then take the words of a phrase or sentence and convert those words into something meaningful.

As a result there is little ability for the child to answer any questions about what has been read and (more worrying in the long term) there can be no enjoyment in reading.  Reading is a chore to be got through, not something to be enjoyed.

Unfortunately, many resources that exist to help primary school children read, focus on helping children read the text, but don’t simultaneously focus on giving them something that is enjoyable to read.

And so it was to provide this additional vital element in primary school literacy that we have produced the new edition of Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension – Years 1 – 6

The books in this series contain a variety of types of comprehension passages ranging from newspaper articles and dialogues to plays, stories and poems.  Each is followed by a series of enjoyable tasks for the children to undertake which test and stimulate their understanding of what they have read.

There is a lot more information about these books and their content on our website.

The books can be ordered either as a PDF for £13.99 or as a hardcopy book for £19.99. There is also the option to buy the hardcopy and PDF together at a discounted price.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, How children learn, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Poems and poetry, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Multi-Sensory English Literature

What is the most effective way of helping reluctant readers to study a set text?

Over the past 100 years the multi-sensory learning approach pioneered by Maria Montessori has been shown to be a highly effective way of teaching – especially for students who do not respond strongly to single-sense learning.

Unfortunately, the range of multi-sensory resources available for teaching and learning involving set texts in English has been limited.  But it is growing with the use of graphic revision guides.

These have been shown not only to benefit a wide range of students, including reluctant readers, disaffected students and those with dyslexia, but also those students who find the study of a full-length novel difficult to undertake.

It is for all these students that we have produced our Graphic Revision Guide for A Christmas Carol.

This volume develops the student’s understanding of the plot, the key themes and the characters, so that when the student then returns to the full text she or he is able at once to focus on the unfolding story as Dickens created it. 

What’s more, those students who find it hard to picture what literary characters look and act like now find it much easier to understand motives and actions. Those who struggle to follow the plot, now know its direction of travel.

In short, the classic text is no longer hard work for these students, but instead becomes an enjoyable read.  Meanwhile the activities provided in terms of, for example, matching quotes to pictures and drawing character maps, are entered upon with enthusiasm and will help students bring to mind the ideal quote when they sit their exam.

Better still, the resources are printed in black and white for easy photocopying and enlarging.

There is more information on this volume on our website along with other books from the same series of graphic novels.

The book can be ordered as a printed copy for £16.50 or as a PDF download for £10.99. There is also an option to buy the printed copy and the PDF together as a discounted price. Just choose what you want on our website.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, How children learn, Key Stage 3, Secondary school, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

Get talking about bullying

get talking about bullying

Use this free resource to develop your childrens’ spoken language skills by highlighting a topic they will have been hearing about this week.

‘Some people suggest it is best to give in and do what the bully wants. But that won’t stop the bullying. You shouldn’t just put up with it. You should always report bullying.’

‘Bullies often say that their victims deserve to be bullied. But no one deserves to be bullied.’

After reading some thoughts like these about bullying the children are presented with 10 statements to make them think about the article more deeply. They are then encouraged to discuss their own views on the statements.

Download your free resource Discussing an issue: Bullying to increase the impact of anti-bullying week and get your pupils speaking AND listening.

The resource is taken from Brilliant Activities for Speaking and Listening KS2, a book of activities designed to develop the spoken language skills of children in Years 3–6. The activities provide full coverage of the National Curriculum requirements for spoken language. The pupil assessment sheets and advice on progress ensure that schools can develop competence in this vital area of the curriculum.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Citizenship, English, Key Stage, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Primary school, PSHE, Teaching Ideas

The story’s the thing

What is the simplest way of getting students who are disinclined to read a book, to read the book?

For some students the chance to get involved with a classic such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Jekyll and Hyde, etc, is very welcome.  These are the students who have found the joy of books and who want to read.
 
But, of course, there are those who look at such books – even when they have alluring stories within them that might appeal to their interests – and back away.  They have defined books as not being part of their world.
 
So the question is, how to get these students started.
 
One way of doing this is to give the students an overview of the complete book within a format that they will find acceptable. And that is where graphic books come into their own.
 
Graphic books give students who are unexcited by the opportunity of approaching a complete novel a chance to grasp the story and come to terms with the characters before they start reading.
 
In this way when they do turn to reading the original, everything is already clear to them and they are now able to enjoy the depth of the story in full book form.
 
Hence they are no longer put off by language from an earlier era, a multiplicity of minor characters, or the amount of reading involved.  Everything is now familiar and acceptable.
 
This is why we have produced our series of Graphic Revision Guides.  Five volumes are now available: Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceGreat ExpectationsJekyll and Hyde and A Christmas Carol.

What’s more, the Graphic Revision Guides series is available both as printed books and as e-books, or you can purchase both formats together at a discounted price of £19.80. 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Reluctant reader, Secondary school, slow reader, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas