Great Reads, Phonics and Reading Activities!
To ensure that children are still fostering their insatiable love of reading, you can find a list of 100 books to read for Early Years, KS1 and KS2 children. You can also find a number of simple activities you can do around the books either in your child's reading record or in the activity and discussion guide below.
Miss Bellwood's Comfort Reads
Below you'll find Miss Bellwood's top ten comfort reads. These are classic reads that could be read as a family book club or on your own with a hot chocolate.
Across the school we have been experimenting with an app called Get Epic! This is a great resources that could be used to encourage reading at home. There is a large collection of books (both fiction and non fiction), comics and audio-books. There are even a selection of titles in more than one language.
This service is free to librarians and educators, however some classes have given out their individual class code. In order for the children to access this they would need to log on during school hours only and using their class code. There are some instructions below.
Not all classes have given this out and it is only a suggested activity. If there are any issues with this app can we ask that you contact Get Epic! directly.
Phonics and Vocabulary
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will be used to using Phonics Play in their daily phonics sessions. This resource is currently free for children to access at home.
Books are an incredible opportunity to discuss vocabulary. As a school we continually encourage the children to explore their 'word conciousness' why not engage in some of the suggested vocabulary games as well.
The Vocabulary Ninja
The vocabulary Ninja has a host of word of the day resources that can be downloaded for free as well as word square puzzles here.
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more.
Reading activities beyond Reading record
- Draw a picture of the setting/character based on the description you've read in the text (or even draw a map if the setting is big enough)
- Using a thesaurus, find synonyms to help you write a description of the setting/character
- Showing children sentences on the board with a correct and incorrect context and discussing if it makes sense (call my bluff definitions)
- Picking out vocabulary that has set up the mood of the text – can children write their own example doing the same thing? Using similar vocabulary (synonyms – chance for thesaurus work)?
- Morphemic analysis – can they define by giving other words that have the same prefix/suffix/root word
- Contextual analysis – reading the sentence to identify the meaning, but also, are they aware of its position in the sentence with regards to other word classes? e.g. There was an acrid stench coming from the machine – it is an adjective placed before a noun to describe the noun. How might you describe a stench? Stench itself alludes to being unpleasant. So acrid must be a negative description.
- Go through vocabulary of a text before reading it – chn find the definitions of words on the board and write them down. They then have to use them in a sentence. Builds dictionary use, spelling and vocabulary all in one go. More likely to remember the meaning of the word having found it themselves and reading it again in the text in context, rather than just being told the definition.
- Display a sentence on the board from the text you are reading that includes a word you think children will not know – remove the word and ask children to think of alternatives
- Children draw two or more characters and contrast/compare their appearances
- Children stick in book cover into their book where they infer what the book may be about from the title and images - they can also predict what might happen in the story if the front cover permits or use the blurb to do so. Show them different front covers from the same book – show them the film trailer or a scene from the film. When showing book covers, start with the one that allows least inferences then progress upwards.
- Using a specific part of the text, get the children to explain the character’s emotions/thoughts based on their actions – children to focus on the direct between action and emotion. I.e. each character behaves in a certain way because they are responding to events in their own individual way.
- Rewrite the text from another character’s perspective in a first person account (e.g. diary) to infer the feelings of other characters
- Get children to write speech that characters might say and then explain what they really mean by it
- Give children a sheet with speech that has been said by characters in the text and ask them to explain what it is they think the character means - how does what they say convey their emotion?
- Get children to draw/write a character web where each character is linked by their thoughts about each other
- Ask children to think about the writer’s intention and find evidence to support their idea
- Children can write an interview with a character, where they choose what questions to ask and write how they think the character would respond
- Children can write about an experience in their life (or make one up) that links to an experience a character goes through
- Children draw different faces with different emotions for different parts of the story
- Looking at one event, explain how each character has responded to it using evidence to support
- Children piece together a story simply through pictures – works well with picture books
- Drama activities – hot seating, conscience alley, freeze frames etc
- Song lyrics - give children a verse/chorus from a song and ask them to annotate it (works best with songs children are currently interested in)
- Get children to write the next part of the story using evidence from the text to support their predictions
- Get children to write a prediction of what happened before the story started based off what they have read
- What will happen to the setting? Will it improve/worsen? Will the setting change completely? Draw a picture of what the new setting may look like
- Give children your predictions for the story. Have some founded in fact and others completely irrelevant. Can children find evidence to prove/disprove your predictions?
- If this story were to have a flashback in the next chapter, what would happen in that flashback? If a character were to have a dream, what would happen in that dream?
- Think of texts that start in a similar way, how do they end? What is their purpose?
- Write a conversation/event that may occur between two characters
- Genie from a lamp – at where you at in the story right now, a genie emerges and can grant each character a wish. What would the wish be?
- Give children the key events of the part of a text just read – what is going to happen next based off of these events only? Children then order their predictions based on the likelihood of occurring
- Children predict the future for a character after the text finishes
- Discussing themes – get children to support the theme of a text by finding evidence to support it (e.g. a theme of Harry Potter is friendship, find evidence in this passage to support that)
- Children write a paragraph/label the text to explain how a chapter/event/character/part of a text contributes to the meaning as a whole
- Children find evidence in the text to support how the mood changes
- Discuss the effect the author is having on the audience – children write their own example trying to achieve the same effect
- Children write a short explanation of how different paragraphs or chapters are linked
- Write an analysis of how the character felt/acted at the start and how they act now/at the end. What is similar and what is different?
- Children do a cross-examination of two characters using a Venn diagram – what is similar/different about their appearance/demeanour?
- Children can write a how-to guide/manual of how to take care of, how to approach, how to look after etc of an object/character/setting
- Feelings graph – give children an empty graph with events from the story – childrenn add an emotion to the graph to show the emotional journey of a character. Underneath, they write a point and evidence sentence to explain their answer.
- Read while children act out the text – are they doing it correctly? Could also be done as freeze frames – discussion about how character emotion is shown through their actions
- Children choose a character to rate. Identify the qualities of the character or just general character qualities (kind, happy, funny, mean). Rate their qualities on a scale from low to high - e.g. not at all, slightly, some, mostly, all the time. Do this regularly to see how the character develops over the course of a text.
- Get children to write their own questions for somebody else to answer
- Skimming and scanning work – Where’s Wally?, other picture books, wordsearches
- Use the description of a character to draw a wanted poster of them
- If the book covers enough time, children can draw the characters at different stages
- Provide children with a paragraph that has the majority of words blanked out. Leave only a few words with some potential keywords. Can they guess what the text is about?
- Skimming and scanning activity – provide children with a page full of random words. Ask them to circle the word you are defining. I use this when it is raining – umbrella. Helps to build speed and technique
- Teach children the difference between paraphrasing and quoting
- Children write true and false statements to prove/disprove based on the text
- Children bullet point all the ideas of the paragraph and find the common idea among them – what is the main point of the paragraph? (e.g. in a paragraph about stretching before you warm up, it may have different stretches you can do but the main point is to stretch to prevent injury)
- Give children a limited word count in which they have to summarise what happens in part of a text or why a part of the text is there
- Children order events in the story chronologically and then also by order of importance – they justify their order of importance with evidence suggesting its link to the rest of the text
- Children summarise the text they have read today in one sentence – this can help them to realise what the main point/idea/theme of a text is. Challenge - can they summarise it in one word?
- Give children several one-sentence summaries of a paragraph/chapter/part of a text and ask them to identify which one goes with which – match up activity
- Summarise the text in 5/10/15/etc keywords
- Instead of the numbers given to chapters, give them a name instead. If they already have one, give them an alternative one. For non-fiction texts, give them a different subheading. Provide children with 4 potential subheadings, do they all work? Which one works best? Why?
- Fiction - write your own blurb for this story Non-fiction – write your own introduction to this text
- Imagine you are turning this book into a film, which parts/events could you cut out of the final script? Which parts would definitely have to be in the film? Why?
- Explain the importance of the current chapter – how does it link to what we previously read? How does it potentially affect what will happen next? What is its significance to the text as a whole? (a chance to look back at certain chapters after the text has been read completely)
- Children break a text extract into key parts and label them – or give children a paragraph and they have to come up with a suitable heading for it – could also give them the titles and they attach it to the right section
- Segmenting – give children entire extract as a block of text, they split it into paragraphs based on ideas and then give each one a title
- Children draw a picture to summarise a text, whether it be a chapter, sentence, event, paragraph, ending etc
- Who can summarise a part/whole of the text in the least amount of words?
- Children rank events/parts of the text from least important to most important in a group – they must justify their choices