Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Essential Books for Primary/Elementary School

Over the last ten years or so I have become aware of how the fashions and fads that are new initiatives have diluted many strong traditional aspects of schooling. Going back further and the classroom was alive and rich in the depth of study through the use of class readers. This was the place of some of the very best cross curricular work. Texts used year after year led to revised effective programs that taught good literacy skills whilst allowing grammar to be taught in a context. To this end, my thoughts have turned regularly to what kind of books I would like to see embedded across a school and its curriculum.

A selection of Roald Dahl books from/including: The Fantastic Mr Fox, BFG, James and The Giant Peach, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, The Twits, Matilda, The Witches, The Magic Finger...

Beowulf - there are so many different versions but this one by Brian Pattern is accessible for children as young as seven.

Clockwork by Philip Pullman
Jabberwocky by CS Lewis
Poetry by Roger McGough

The Sound Collector by Roger McGough

The Listeners by Walter De La Mare

I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Goodnight Moon by Mary Wise Brown

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morporgo

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

The Mixed up Chameleon by Eric Carle

Oh Fabjous Day Collected by Sandy Brownjohn

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

The Guard Dog by Dick King Smith
The Hodgeheg by Dick King Smith

The Rattle Bag edited by SeamusHeaney and Ted Hughes

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Where's Wally? (various) 

Magazines and Comics - as many as possible in as many places as possible

Charlotte's Web by EB White

Percy the Park Keeper by Nick Butterworth

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

Traditional Tales including: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man,Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling - These need to be revisited many times so that children internalise their structures and devices. For six to eight year old children use with alternative versions such as Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs or Goldilocks by Allen Ahlberg.

Myths and Legends including: Theseus and the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus,

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
Anything by Michael Rosen
Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson

Silly Verse for Kids by Spike Milligan


Five Children and It by E Nesbit
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

Lots by Julia Donaldson like The Gruffalo and The Snail and The Whale.

Holes, There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

 This is far from a comprehensive list and I have realised that it will need to be developed and refined over time. These texts should be incorporated through a number of platforms within the school including:
  • class reader
  • guided reader
  • shared reader
  • class library
  • school library
  • recommendations list
  • holiday reading list
  • extended reading list
  • home reader