Boys sharing a book

Why non-fiction is important for reading development

Roderick Hunt MBE, co-creator of Oxford Reading Tree, asks ‘Why is non-fiction important for reading development?’ Why is it important to widen children’s early reading experience into reading non-fiction and information books? It is because the literate, print-bound world for which children are being educated requires the ability to process information and master the many … Read more

The gender gap: how to encourage boys to learn

Save the Children’s 2016 report The Lost Boys revealed that, in England, boys are almost twice as likely as girls to have fallen behind in language and communication skills at the age of five, putting their opportunities for long-term success at risk. Once again, this year’s KS2 SATs results showed the gender gap between boys … Read more

Children playing at primary school

Choosing a primary school

If your child was born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014, you will need to apply for a place at primary school by the middle of January 2018. If this applies to you, you might find yourself asking two questions: 1. Wow, primary school already, where did the time go? 2. Now, where … Read more

Sorting pine cones

Ideas to develop problem solving skills

At school children will be expected to identify patterns and predict the next item in a sequence. Isabel Thomas has some simple ways of reinforcing these concepts when she’s out and about with her family. Watch children try out Isabel’s top tips for developing problem solving skills in this short film, or read Isabel’s suggestions … Read more

Mum and daughter reading together

What are reading schemes and why do they matter?

What are reading schemes? A reading scheme is a series of books that have been carefully written to support the process of learning to read and to help children make progress as readers. What educational researchers know about how children learn to read – and how best to motivate them to learn – is changing … Read more

Winnie birthday cake

Happy Birthday, Winnie!

Our top 10 unforgettable Winnie and Wilbur moments Friday 13 October 2017 marked the 30th birthday of our favourite witch Winnie and her loyal sidekick Wilbur! Over the past 30 years the Winnie and Wilbur series by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul has sold over seven million copies in more than 10 languages. This year, … Read more

boy and cat in reading den

Building reading dens

Since my boys were babies, I’ve been keen to make books and reading feel very special. This doesn’t mean saving books for special occasions or insisting they are treated more carefully than other toys – this would totally ruin their appeal! It’s about making the experience of sharing books special. Reading together at bedtime is a … Read more

Back to school BINGO

Frustrated by single-word answers from your child about the first weeks at school? Get the conversation started with our Back to school BINGO card. Print it out, stick it on the fridge and see how long it takes to tick off five in a row. Download it now

Children’s dictionaries – how to find the right dictionary for your child

Looking up an unfamiliar word in the dictionary can be a daunting task for many children. Without specially written definitions suited to their reading level, using a dictionary will be frustrating and discouraging, with each new definition containing more confusing words than the last! Encouraging children to use an appropriate dictionary on their own terms … Read more

Car journey games

Whether it’s term-time or the holidays, there’s always so much to squeeze in to each week that good intentions to play learning games usually get pushed towards the bottom of the list. But long car journeys are a really good opportunity. Simple games distract my boys from their favourite hobbies of shrieking or squabbling. And … Read more