The final workshop for the year took place last weekend and the final tutoring sessions were also last week so I am now on holiday.

I want to thank all the children and parents who I have met during the year, it is always a privilege to work with such wonderful students. The term from August to December is always so busy but as I spend time now reviewing each child’s learning and writing plans for next term I am constantly amazed by how much we have achieved.

I look forward to spending time with my family over the next few weeks and I wish all my subscribers a very happy festive season and a wonderful 2014.

Best wishes

The Read, Rhyme, Craft workshop ‘Creative Christmas’ is now fully booked.  If you are interested in your child attending please contact me and I can add them to the waiting list.

There are spaces available at all the other workshops.

The flyers for all upcoming workshops can be found below.


Read, rhyme, craft workshops for 4 – 6 year olds –  Read, rhyme, craft – Autumn 2013

Story and Craft workshops for 2 – 4 year olds (with an adult) – Story and craft

Due to popular demand I am delighted to announce two new workshops for the younger Smart Owls.  Story and Craft allow children aged 2 – 4 the chance to work with an adult to try a selection of different craft activities all based on a theme.  There is also an opportunity for them to have a break from crafts and play with toys for a while.  At the end we will come together as a group to share a story and some songs.

There are two workshops this term, Falling Autumn and Christmas Craft.  More information on the workshops and the flyer can be found here.

autumn owl 1To register or for more information please email Karen at

Throughout my teaching career I have often been asked by parents how to help children develop their writing skills and below, in no particular order, are 10 suggestions:

1) Read – Through reading children develop their imagination by visualising the stories they read.

2) Read – Reading teaches children about problem solving, perseverance and morals.

3) Read – Children see words spelt correctly in books and can apply this knowledge to their own writing.

4) Read – Through stories children gain a greater understanding of the world around them.

5) Read – Reading helps children to build their vocabulary by experiencing words used in different situations.

6) Read – A whole world of information opens up once a child can read.  Reading allows them to explore their interests in more detail.

7) Read – Through reading children meet many different characters who can influence how they feel and act.  They can ‘make friends’ with the people in the story developing emotional links and genuinely caring what happens.

8) Read – Books set in the past allow children insight into how life has changed and allows them to appreciate how technology has influenced their lives.

9 )Read – Reading with your child creates a shared bonding experience and allows you to talk with your child about the book and how this relates to their own life.

10) Read – Reading encourages confidence and independence by allowing children to access this amazing world of words.  As they read they begin to ask questions and search for answers which then generates more questions and the cycle continues.  This quest for knowledge and new understanding is an ongoing and motivating journey.

Good writers draw on ideas they have read then mix these up to create their own unique story.  They understand how to use words effectively to create emotions and help their reader picture the scene.

If you want to help your child develop their writing (and reading) then encourage them to read for 10 – 20 minutes each night.  If they are reluctant to read then offer to share the reading with them by taking a page or paragraph each (depending on ability level).  Also encourage them to try a range of different books, some children will happily read non-fiction but not fiction and some like the comic book style.  As long as they are reading on a regular basis they get the benefit and once they find a book they enjoy look for more by that author or in a similar style.  Finally think about setting up a book exchange with some friends so your child has access to different books without constantly having to buy new ones.

Do you agree good readers make good writers?  What do you do to encourage your child to write?



With just one week of tutoring left until the summer holidays it is hard not to reflect on the learning that has taken place this year.

I have had the pleasure of working with children from 2 years up to 12 and have made everything from dinosaur fossils out of pasta and magic spell books to jam sandwiches!  While tutoring we have tackled, among other activities,  scary stories, celebration reports and many new ways to learn spelling words.  It has given me quite a challenge to find ways of teaching all the different components of language in interesting ways and with just 55 minutes a week rather than 5 hours, 5 days a week!

I have attached my  Summer 2013 newsletter which has the details of next terms workshops at the end.  If you would like to sign your child up for any of them please complete the application form or send an email to

Finally I will take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy summer.


Thank you so much to all the children and their parents who attended today’s ‘Sunny Spring’ workshop.  It was not very sunny outside but that did not stop the fun that everyone had.  Below are a few photos from the morning.

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There is less than a week until the ‘Sunny Spring’ workshop and I’m very happy to see the sun has come out this morning.  I was seriously wondering whether I needed to change the theme to a winter one!

In two weeks time is the ‘Happy Birthday Smart Owls’ workshop and I’m so pleased that so many workshop regulars are able to celebrate this special date with me.

Both workshops are fully booked but if you want to be one of the first to hear about the new workshop dates for after the summer (yes, I am planning them already!) just email and I’ll add you to my mailing list.

There are still a few spaces available for ‘Sunny Spring’ workshop at Puzzles Centre on the 6th April.  You can get more information here and see photographs of the last workshop here. Please email Karen at if you would like to register.

The ‘Happy birthday Smart Owls’ read, rhyme and craft workshop is now fully booked.

Sunny Spring flyer.

I have been extremely busy in the last few weeks trying to organise new workshops.  It’s been quite a challenge given the number of public holidays, school holidays and my own commitments but I am happy to announce that I have managed to schedule two new dates.

On Saturday 6th April there will be ‘Sunny Spring’ for children who are 2 1/2 – 4 years old and then the following week on Saturday 13th April is a very special read, rhyme, craft to celebrate Smart Owls first birthday.  You can get more information on both workshops and how to register here.  The flyer is here.

first birthday

Upcoming workshop dates

There are currently no scheduled workshops.


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