It is often the case that teachers like to teach a topic holistically. By this I mean that they pick a main theme for the term or half term, and teach as many subjects they can using that theme as inspiration.
It seems, on observation, to be a really effective way of teaching. The children can immerse themselves in a topic, and it gives a much deeper understanding of the subject as it is approached from lots of different angles. Given how little time teachers have to teach so many subjects under current curriculum guidelines, having a holistic approach like this can help to glue disparate subjects together and give a real sense of cohesion in a classroom setting.
In the coming summer term for example, one of our teachers in KS2 has chosen the Tudors as her main theme. Another is working on the topic of Ancient Egypt. One of our KS1 teachers is doing a topic on nocturnal animals. Someone else has chosen ‘Into the Woods’ as a theme.
Finding appropriate stories for guided reading sessions, or just for reading to the class can sometimes be tricky. Factual books are easy to find, as a quick search on Amazon using the topic heading will always produce a wide range of results, some of which will be perfect for the class or child in question.
Fiction books are different of course. There are almost certainly fiction books on any topic a teacher, parent or educator might want to find, but the titles are not always helpful, and searching and researching the topic can be very time consuming.
One of the ways that someone like me (librarian/story teller) can help in school is to come up with a list of books that will support the learning a teacher is planning.
As a new feature on this blog, I aim to create blog posts consisting of fiction based reading lists related to various topics we are learning within school. I am also happy to try to with topic work requests in the comments box on the blog or via the Making The Readers Facebook page.
I will provide links to the sites where you can purchase the books where possible.
I will also provide a brief synopsis for each book, and what age the books are considered to be most appropriate for.
I will also let you know if I have read the book and if there are any causes for concern.
Obviously, I will not have read every book on the list, and I would urge you to read/vet anything you are thinking of trying in a classroom setting. Experience has shown that not every publisher or review highlights issues in children’s books which may prove to be problematic for teaching purposes.
I will, of course, be unable to provide comprehensive lists, so I would be very grateful, if you know of books I have missed out and you want to recommend something, if you would leave your recommendations in the comments at the bottom of the posts. I am hoping, in this way, that we can build up a really valuable resource to help teachers, parents and other educators.