Reading Update: 6 Tips for reading with your child.

  1. Set aside some time – Find somewhere quiet without any distractions – turn off the TV/radio/computer.
  2. Ask your child to choose a book – Sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think and that their opinion matters. This means they are more likely to engage with the book.
  3. Sit close together – Encourage your child to hold the book themselves and/or turn the pages.
  4. Point to the pictures – If there are illustrations, relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures.
  5. Encourage your child to talk about the book – Talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues. Give your child plenty of time to respond. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling or how the book makes them feel.
  6. And lastly, above all – make it fun! It doesn’t matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together. Don’t be afraid to use funny voices – children love this!

This information is from the Book Trust, specifically an article titled: How to read with your child. Click the link to find out more.

International Nursing Day – Florence Nightingale Factfile

It is International Nurses Day which is celebrated on the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

She was a fantastic nurse but also a brilliant mathematician. Her use of statistics saved thousands of lives and changed medicine for everyone around the world.

Have a look at these websites for more information:

This is a copy of a chart she created (pictured above). She used statistics to show that more soldiers died from disease than from battle wounds. This helped convince people to change their ways and improve medicine.

Watch the video from BBC True Stories

Reading Update: What is Paired Reading?

What is Paired Reading? 

Paired Reading is a technique that parents can use to help their own child with reading practice. The method involves the parent who is a skilled reader and the child who is learning, reading a book together. 

Who is it for? 

Every child will benefit from using Paired Reading.

What are the benefits? 

Parents who have undertaken Paired Reading report that not only does the child’s reading improve but that child’s self-esteem has improved, and generally the child is more co-operative at home also. This can be attributed to the quality parent – child relationship that develops as they spend more time together. 

When should it be done? 

Choose a suitable time when the parent and child are going to be in a good frame of mind. Avoid any time when the child is likely to be tired, hungry or irritable. Agree on a given time, five to seven times a week and stick with that schedule. 

How do we choose the books? 

The child’s class teacher may be able to offer suggestions about suitable books to read. Seek the advice of your librarian when you visit the local library. Allow the child to choose the book if possible. 

If you have to choose the book yourself, make sure the vocabulary is suitable, and that the print is clear. Books with pictures are generally best. Don’t worry if the child uses the pictures to predict the text. The important thing is that the child is getting practice at reading and that reading is becoming more enjoyable. 

Think about a child learning to ride a bike. In the early stages you give the child encouragement, confidence and control, by holding the bicycle. Your own instinct will tell you when to let go. So you can gradually disengage for longer periods until your child is able to ride without help. The same applies to Paired Reading. It is an ideal way of helping your child to become an independent reader. 

Working to a plan 

Reading Together 

Your child selects a book. It must also be suitable to his/her reading level. 

  • Discuss the book: 
    • What is the title of the book? 
    • What does the cover picture tell you? 
    • Why did you pick this book? 
    • What do you think will happen in the story? 
  • Invite the child to read along with you. 
  • You both read together. Pace your reading to the speed of the child. 
  • If your child fails at a word, or struggles at a word for longer than 4 seconds, pronounce the word clearly for him/her. Then continue reading as before. 
  • Ask questions occasionally e.g. at the end of a page: What do you think will happen next? 
  • Make observations about the story: “That’s terrible! He must feel very sad”. 
  • Praise the child frequently for his/her effort. 
  • A period of 5-7 minutes is recommended for reading together. Always stop at a natural break in the story, if the book is too long to read at one sitting. 

Letting Go: 

After a period of reading together, you are ready to gradually “Let Go” 

  • Gradually lower your voice during paired reading. 
  • Let the child’s voice dominate. 
  • Begin to drop out from reading aloud. 
  • Rejoin if your child gets a word wrong or begins to struggle. Continue reading with the child until you feel she/he is ready to continue on her/his own. 

Things to avoid:

  • Turn off the television, radio etc. – they are obvious distractions. 
  • Avoid other family members interrupting you while Paired Reading is taking place.. 
  • Avoid negative comments. Do not make comments like “Look at what you are doing” or “Concentrate, you knew that word last week” 
  • Don’t continue with a session if the child is obviously very tired. 
  • Now that your child is reading himself/herself don’t stop reading to him/her at other times. The more times you read to your child will increase his/her enjoyment of books. 


Topping, Keith (1987) Paired Reading: A Powerful Technique for Parent Use. The Reading Teacher 40,7. 

Morgan, R. (1986) Helping Children Read: The Paired Reading Handbook, London, 

Methuen N. Moloney, The Road to Reading, A Practical Guide for Parents, C.D.U., Mary Immaculate College, Limerick,

Monday’s Assembly (Take 2)

This is the second attempt. After failing miserably to publish this on the school’s YouTube channel last night, here it is hosted on the school website. Once you have seen this, I’m sure you will agree it was worth the wait. The quality of the video editing is exceptional; you would be forgiven for thinking I was in the original Dad’s Army!

I know it is clearly a breach of copyright laws but I hope the BBC will let me off this time.

Remember kids: be original!

Home Learning Timetable (KS1 and 2)

Here is the suggested home learning timetable for this week.

As always, please help your child(ren) to do as much as you can; but, do not feel pressured to achieve everything.

The theme for this week is: Victories. This would be a good time to set realistic targets for what work can feasibly be achieved and then take the opportunity to celebrate these victories.

As you may be aware, it is the 75th anniversary of VE day this Friday. The school are asking all children and families to make some bunting (even if it is just one triangle) to celebrate the day. If you can, please take a photo of it with yourselves wearing red, white and blue and send it Mrs Sharred (via WhatsApp) on 07895 359543. She intends to make a video out of it to share with the whole school community so if you don’t want to be in the photo please just photograph the bunting. There is a post on Class Dojo explaining more.

I hope you have a good week and, as always, please contact the school if you need any support.

Virtual Learning

Bluebell Virtual Learning.

Just to let you know that we are always updating the virtual learning pages on the school website. These are resources that children could do in addition to the work that has been set by the teacher.

Staff are posting links to things the children can get on with independently or there are some resources that parents can use to help support the learning.

I would also like you to look at the online safety page and check out the resources there.

Please let me (Mr Dooley) know, via a Class Dojo message, if you know of any other good websites that we could put up on there.

I have separated the links out into different subject areas to make it easier to scroll through and find what you’re looking for.