Reading and writing
Resources to inspire your children to read for pleasure.
Michael Rosen: Boogy Woogy Buggy
Primary-age children will love this inspiring video from the renowned author and former children’s laureate. In it, Michael reads one of his poems then gives tips to youngsters about how easy it is to use your imagination to create a poem on any subject. Why not watch it with your child, then suggest they let their creativity run wild to come up with their own poem or short story?
Adventures In Learning: fun education packs for parents and primary-age children
Take a look at these free creative learning packs specially developed by teacher and education expert Debra Kidd for parents and children currently learning at home. The packs, exclusive to NEU, are aimed at children of different ages, from Reception to Year 6. They’re designed to support and encourage you and your children to enjoy reading together and to explore the world through stories, talk and activities.
Easy to use and designed for you to dip in and out of, the packs are there to inspire and spark imagination. Simply use them as suits you and your children, depending on time, energy and levels of interest. The age ranges are there as a guide, but some children may want to explore several packs.
Reception/Year 1: Journey To The South Pole
Based on the children’s book Lost and Found, by Oliver Jeffers, this pack is full of ideas and activities about travel, the natural world and discovering different countries.
Year 3/Year 4: Journey Into Earth
Explore a network of underground caves to encourage your child to think about life in Stone Age times, the role of art in human history, and preserving precious places.
Year 1/Year 2/Year 3: The Journey Home
Follow four animals on their search for a safe habitat, learning about how humans affect the environment, animal instinct and the power of friendship and perseverance on the way.
Year 4/Year 5/Year 6: Journey Into Ancient Greece
Discover the intriguing world of Greek myth, following Perseus on his epic journey around the ancient world. Use creative activities to explore problem-solving, role play and what makes a ‘hero’ or a ‘monster’.
Learning at home: literacy resources for children in Key Stage 2
The following resources contain a wealth of ideas and activities to stimulate 5 to 11-year-olds’ interest in reading and writing during the lockdown. As well as being educational, importantly they are fun! Many are activities which children can do on their own, while parents are working or busy. Your children may be missing their friends or feeling isolated at home: you could encourage them to do activities as a group with their brothers or sisters, or with school friends using social media.
- Researchify have six well-known classics as audiobooks, with a copy of the text (Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, Railway Children, Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Black Beauty).
- Oxford University Press has made a wide range of books available free for children who are beginning to read independently, eg Oxford Reading Tree (Biff, Chip and Kipper)
- Some fun activities based on the Harry Potter stories, including quizzes and craft.
- Loads of videos with poetry and story readings and fun activities by Michael Rosen.
- Older children who are hooked on books will love these illustrated British Library collections. Themes include Journeys, Fear, Home and Belonging, and Changing the World.
- The National Literacy Trust has produced book lists, inspired by Black Lives Matter, for pre-school and primary children.
- The National Literacy Trust also links directly to some great resources. Only One You by Linda Kranz is a great story that can be enjoyed together as a family. Let’s Talk About Race, by the famous writer Julius Lester, is a YouTube video (7.5 mins long) of the author reading this beautifully-illustrated book exploring identity.
If your children are running out of books to read
Love Reading is a book recommendation site. A summary and extract is provided for every book. At the bottom of the page, you will find links for many different genres (science fiction, the natural world, history, ghost stories, graphic novels). There are recommendations by age, and a blog for parents.
Among its thousands of resources, BBC Bitesize has videos on poetry – including how to write a narrative poem and performing poetry.
- The Writing For Pleasure Centre’s Be Together, Craft Together, Share Together initiative has tips for parents to support their child’s writing at home.
- Easy-to-use guides on writing stories from BBC Bitesize. (If your child needs help with punctuation, try these short videos)
- A set of really imaginative activities in response to any book your child is reading.
- An imaginative British Library project with guides on how to write, and illustrations from children’s books.
- This initiative invites children to write their own diary. The project uses social media channels and there are plans for publication, but with good safeguarding advice. A section for 8-12 year olds has tips from over 30 writers and illustrators.
- Puffin Books has video advice on planning detective stories, creating magical worlds, and Greek legends. There are also ingenious writing prompts.
- Pobble has a picture for every day of the year (though you can use them anytime). Each is chosen to stimulate creative writing, and includes a starter text, some questions, a short language exercise, and a drawing.
Other useful resources for children and young people
The Steve Sinnott Foundation, which was set up in memory of the former NUT General Secretary, has two packs to support pupils learning outside school. The Storytelling Pack tells powerful stories of children from Sierra Leone, Haiti and Nepal and includes activities aimed at primary-age children. The Home Learning Resource Pack has many great suggestions, ideas and links in a variety of subjects for both primary and secondary pupils.
Animated videos from The Black Curriculum on black history in Britain, told through the story of events like the Bristol Bus Boycott and the Notting Hill Carnival, and of individuals like Mary Seacole and the Tudor musician John Blanke.
Conservation charity RSPB has a number of delightful short stories for young nature-lovers to enjoy. Click here to download Lucky Duck; two further stories – blackbird and sparrow – are available here. There are more electronic and audio stories for children on the RSPB website.
Fun creative activities for families learning outside of school.