Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

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


Due to a cancellation there is one space available at the Creative Christmas workshop at McTots in Adliswil on Saturday 8th December.  More information on the workshop can be found here and photographs of previous workshops are available in the gallery here.

If you would like to register for the workshop please email Karen at

The dinosaur workshop takes place in just 3 week time.  I’m really looking forward to it as I have some big craft activities planned which will really let children get creative and make their own dinosaur world.

The workshop is on Saturday 8th September from 9 – 11.45 and costs 50chf per child.  It is suitable for children aged 4 – 7 and will take place at McTots in Adliswil.  If you would like to register your child then either complete the application form on the workshop page and email it to me or just send an email to

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.


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.

I typed this into a search engine this morning just to see what would come up and was  immediately drawn to this article from The Telegraph .  The article, written at the start of 2012, states that by the age of 11 children should be able to enjoy reading books by authors such as Michael Morpurgo, Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson and JK Rowling.  These wonderful books transport children to new worlds, introduces a range of colourful characters and makes them ask questions about the world around them.

The article claims that many children cannot enjoy reading these books for pleasure as they do not understand how to interpret the text, ask appropriate questions and have a bank of strategies to use if they do not recognise a word.  These are all important skills which are necessary to be a confident reader but they have to be taught.  Being able to read the words alone does not make a ‘good reader’.  At Smart Owls we teach these strategies as part of their lesson.  Children receive written work to complete along with their reading book and we discuss the book together.  Together these challenge students to ask difficult questions, put themselves in the character’s position and consider their own actions while developing their vocabulary, spelling and grammar skills.

Upcoming workshop dates

There are currently no scheduled workshops.


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