Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils: Podkin One-Ear - Gloucester Road Primary

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Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils

Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood

Lauren Haines and her Year 6 class at Gloucester Road Primary hopped onto Twitter to rabbit with Kieran Larwood, author of ‘The Legend of Podkin One-Ear’.

I first read this novel in preparation for our Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils book club and immediately knew that it was a story that my class would devour – I was not wrong!

I decided to share this gem of a book with my class each day as our reading for pleasure book. We enjoyed reading a chapter most days as a class, after only a few chapters they were all hooked. Excited by the story so far, we wanted to know what had inspired Kieran Larwood to write such a fantastic story. Having only recently started a twitter account for our class we thought we would try our luck by tweeting the author himself and seeing if he answered…

I cannot begin to explain how excited the class were that an author – someone whom they perceive to be busy, important and rather cool – had taken the time to not only read our tweet but reply too! We continued to enjoy spending some time together each day to relax, escape the classroom and enjoy a fantastic story. After a gem of inspiration from one of our book club meetings, I started choosing a couple of children each week to take the book home, read a section that night and then bring the book back the next day.

Before reading together the next day, the child that had taken the book home, had to share with the class a synopsis of what they had read at home. My class found this really engaging – they could not wait to have their turn of taking the book home and feeding back to the rest of the class. To ensure that all members of the class could take part and be involved with this activity, I gave children differing lengths of extract so that reading ability would not prevent a child from participating.

When we started reading ‘Podkin One Ear’ I fully intended for it be purely for pleasure with my class and not as a writing project, but my class were really keen to do some independent writing from it and I was not going to discourage them. While I was reading the novel for our Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils Book Club, I saw many opportunities for writing, so I asked the children if they would like to pretend to be Podkin and write a diary entry describing the events that led up to meeting Crom in Bone Root.

They were so excited and enthralled by the idea that I couldn’t wait to read what they would come up with. We spent an hour or so discussing the chapter from the book, thinking about what the key events were, what things we would need to describe for our readers to make it come alive as it did when we read the chapter ourselves, before the children spent some time planning their diary entries. We recapped what features a diary entry usually has and I led a modelled and shared write to demonstrate how they might like to start. I then gave them the rest of the morning to write independently.

The children’s engagement in the text was evident in their writing – you can view two blog posts featuring some examples of what was produced by following this link or using the QR codes below.

We decided to try our luck with good old twitter again and decided to tweet our blog posts to Kieran Larwood.

Yet again, this author made my children’s days!

After this piece of writing, we decided to just stick to reading and enjoying the story together. As the book was drawing to its close, my year 6’s became increasingly more desperate to keep reading! The day before we finished the book, my class were so desperate to read until the end of the book that we were nearly late out of school. They only agreed to leave when I promised that in the morning we would finish reading the story before doing anything else! It was so wonderful to see them so enthralled and excited about a book – the next morning we did just as I had promised to do so and read the final chapter. Their faces at the end – priceless!

My year 6’s thoroughly enjoyed this book, as did I. If I hadn’t been a member of Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils I would not have heard of such a wonderful novel. My class are always really excited to find out what I am reading for book club and through the project I have seen an increased interest in reading even from my most reluctant readers. I have found making time to sit and enjoy a story together every day together both a wonderful experience and vitally important. I am so happy that I have had the chance to be involved with this project and that by proxy so have my class.

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