Archive for June 2012

The Smart Owls summer newsletter is available to download here Summer 2012.

If you would like to join the mailing list to have a copy sent to you directly please email and I’ll add you.


I have updated the workshop page with the dates of all the workshops scheduled after the summer.

There are two new locations and a total of seven workshops planned.

Although it is very early to be thinking about several of the dates we all know how busy everything becomes in August once the schools go back so right now is the perfect time to schedule some fun activities!

Several weeks ago I recorded a video interview with Branka from the kidster website about reading and writing at home with your child.  The video has now been uploaded and is available here.

Yesterday the first Read, Rhyme, Craft workshop took place and what a fabulous time we all had.  The workshop was fully booked and eight eager youngsters came together to share three stories, learn some new rhymes and follow instructions to complete their minibeast crafts.

The group really embraced the theme as well as the opportunity to work in English and it was lovely to see children arrive as strangers but leave as friends.

You can see some photographs of the craft activities in the Smart Owls Gallery and if you would like to be among the first to hear about the next set of workshops then send an email to with the title ‘subscribe’ or sign up to follow this blog.


I’ve been very busy over the last few days getting everything ready for the next workshop, ‘Read, Rhyme, Craft – Marvellous Minibeasts’.  It’s been a lot of fun choosing the crafts and stories and I hope the children have as much fun on Saturday as I have getting organised.

I’ve also been to see several new places to check their suitability for workshops after the summer.  I’m very happy to have  several dates booked and will announce the new workshops very soon.  If you do want to be among the first to hear about the new workshops then just send me a message at and I’ll add you to the mailing list.

As long as I have been teaching I have constantly heard comments, complaints and concerns from parents and teachers alike about the struggle to get boys to read.  It’s a problem worldwide and of course there is no easy solution.  I came across this article, which although several years old highlights the problem.  It makes really interesting reading and offers a number of suggestions, the main one being as long as they are reading we shouldn’t be too concerned about what they are reading (within reason!).

I have spent a long time choosing books which hopefully appeal to boys (as well as girls)  including  non-fiction, comic strip style stories and authors such as Roald Dahl and David Walliams who have exciting and funny stories.  I also have a number of adventure and scary stories which have always gripped children and their desire to find out what happens keeps them reading.  It just takes one good author to interest a child to get them reading more.  JK Rowling hooked a generation with Harry Potter and I have worked with a number of classes who could not get enough of Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak series and Peter J Murray’s Mokee Joe trilogy.

If you cannot get your child to read try taking them to a book shop and giving them time to browse, find out what subject they are interested in and look for related books.  Do not be concerned if they choose books which are slightly below their level or they only want non fiction.  As long as they are reading they are still developing their fluency, vocabulary, word recognition and understanding of the world around them.

Finally remember you are your child’s most influential teacher, if you want your child to read then they need to see you reading whether on your own or with them.

Upcoming workshop dates

There are currently no scheduled workshops.


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