Archives for Blog

Kingsmead Book Fair 2018

As we look back on the 7th annual Kingsmead College Book Fair held in May we can only say ‘yay!’ for books and people who write them, read them, love them and support them. This is our third year of being involved and every year has shown huge growth and innovation. The adult section was well supported with interesting discussions, debates and dynamic authors but it’s always the children’s section that gets us excited.  Building a culture of reading and an excitement about meeting authors is so important. For children to see adults spending a day celebrating books and engaging in
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Inspiration from Kitty Crowther

I recently came across the name of Belgian author and illustrator Kitty Crowther in a book on Picture books. Fascinated by the fact that she was one of the youngest recipients of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2010, I had to look up her work.  And what a delight it was! Crowther is a master of the picture book medium, using mainly pencil, colored pen and inks. She works in an intuitive and inspired way.  The jury judges said:  “In Crowther’s world, the door between imagination and reality is wide open. She addresses the reader gently and personally, but
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What do you think of children’s eBooks?

At one stage eBooks were the fastest growing sector of children’s publishing.  It looked like it was all over for paper books, bookstores, libraries, etc.  The major publishing houses were hooking up eBook and app sections overnight and sites such as Kalahari, Amazon, and Exclusives were hooked up already. eBook Sales Decline Today there’s a slightly different picture.  According to The Guardian, ‘while book sales through shops increased 7% in 2016, ebook sales declined by 4%. It is the second year in a row that ebook sales have fallen, and only the second time that annual ebook sales have done so since
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7 Comprehension Skills

In a world overflowing with information it’s more important than ever to use comprehension skills to  extract meaning from a text and be able to apply that elsewhere.  Simply put, your child needs to understand what he is reading. It may sound simple, but chances are at least 30% of what a child reads goes over their heads. And that 30% could be vital information – especially when they get to high school. Try these 7 Skills If your child is battling, we have 7 strategies to help them master comprehension. Sit with your child and ask them to read a
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Your Child Needs This Skill: Metacognition

Simply put, metacognition is the ability to think about thinking.  Metacognition implies an understanding of your own thought process.  When reading, we instinctively infer meaning, guess what the characters will do, make links between earlier texts or quiz ourselves to understand what is happening.  This goes beyond literal comprehension and factual knowledge. Deep Reading When we metacognise we put information in context, connecting it to prior knowledge, interpreting, analyzing and contrasting it to previously held understanding. We employ all these metacognitive skills to detect the deep meaning – which is why I call it deep reading. Can Your Child Do
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Little Moments of Joy (or What the Frog Taught Me)

It’s the little moments of joy in life that add up to give meaning and shape to our lives.  Don’t get caught in the trap of busyness to miss them. Play the game We play a ‘what was your favourite part of the day’ game when we’re all sitting at the table for family dinner. It gives everyone a chance to share and often brings up topics of discussion that continue way beyond the table. What always amazes me is how often its the smallest things that brought me the most happiness that day. A bunch of  flowers that look just
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Teach Creativity

If you watch  this inspiring video cartoon clip and feel a bit sad that this could be your child, or you – then take action! It’s no surprise that school and our regular, regimented life can kill any creative instincts we’re born with.  If we expect all children to fit into the box of schooling we’re doing them a great disservice.  Schools should inspire learning and growth, not merely conforming and basic ABC’s. Teach Creativity Children obviously need reading, writing, math, and other content subjects but this shouldn’t be taught at the expense of a child’s natural instincts for creativity and wonder. We
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How To Grow A Reader

Want to grow a reader? Make reading a habit. Unless you get your children into a daily habit of reading you will battle endlessly to grow them into lifelong readers. Yes, they may have a reading session at school.  And they may read perfectly well. But the average child who is busy, sporty and often over-extended may not turn to a book when he has a break. If you have a child who does do so, congratulations, go read something else 🙂 What do you mean, no TV? This Sunday we banned our kids from watching TV.  I stopped the 10-year-old
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So you want to write a blog?

Blogging is writing. Just in shorter, more caffeine-fuelled sentences that need to get to the point quickly or be clicked over at the first sign of a clumsy sentence. Or a long explanation that wanders off topic.  Of course there are exceptions. Some blogs are creative showcases for literary prowess. And some will lose their readers as soon as they get too content-heavy or just plain heavy. As a feature writer, blogging poses a challenge. You have to reign in all those long descriptive sentences and paragraphs and become a master editor.  You can’t leave it to the copy editor
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Bespoke Book Tree Orders

A friend asked me a favour – could I draw up a list of book suggestions for her four boys – ranging in age from 10 – 17. Her boys are not big readers, don’t like fantasy and are put off by ‘big fat books’. I love a challenge and having kids who don’t always want to read, I know all about reluctant readers… I came up with a springboard list to get them started – a good mix of reality, biography, action and adventure with some altruistic choices too – from an environmental book that help teens understand the major
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