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Nairobi's Storymoja Festival

I have just spent the past three out of five days at Nairobi's Storymoja Literature Festival. It is an offshoot from the UK's Hay Literature Festival and showcases literature, art and music from Kenya, other African countries and beyond as…
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Writing from Art

A very enjoyable activity I did recently was to provide students with a piece of art and then ask them to form in their heads an idea of what had happened just before and just after the scene they are looking at. I chose Velazquez's 'The…
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A nice entry

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Would you rather have a monkey to tickle or a bear to read to

John Burningham is such a brilliant illustrator and children's writer. His drawings and prose are iconic and quirky and one of the things I love about his books is that they are left open-ended, loose ends fluttering in the breeze, just perfect…
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Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson, beloved Scottish author of Treasure Island as well as a number of other books for children and adults and an abundance of poems and musical compositions, travelled a great deal throughout his life before finally making…
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How to start with poetry for children? Immersion, leisure, enjoyment, fun

'Poetry plays a powerful role in increasing students’ literacy skills in schools. But unless literacy starts with goosebumps, laughter, or contemplation, none of us would bother to read anything but bills, instructions and road signs. When…
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Benjamin Zephaniah's Imagine Nation

Benjamin Zephaniah. Wow, what an inspiration. Highly dyslexic, he left school at 13 being unable to read or write, had constant brushes with the law before turning his hand to poetry and making it accessible to all kinds of people in all kinds…
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Creating catchy newspaper articles with kids

I did a really fun writing activity recently with a group of children. I cut out lots of pictures of people from magazines and then asked the kids to chose one picture each. After discussing what a journalist does, I split the group into pairs…
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It's all about reading

I love these two little pictures that my daughter drew recently, just because she felt like it. I couldn't agree more, it really is all about reading. I say time and again to the children I work with that my number one tip for being a good…
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Ben Okri's ten and a half inclinations

The Royal Society of Literature once asked 10 writers to suggest the 10 books that children should read before leaving school. Instead of writing a list of books, this is what the writer Ben Okri wrote. Pure brilliance. 1. There is a secret…