Love books? Inspire children’s love of reading with Love to Read

Cornerstones Love to Read features more than 45 teaching guides that help children fall in love with fiction.

They help you teach classic and contemporary children's literature, whatever your literary experience or knowledge. The series is made up of novels that represent a balance of styles, periods and authors to help children experience a range of literature over time. Each guide is also packed with ideas for classroom activities that encourage children to talk about their reading.

Cornerstones Curriculum team member, Stacey Almond, has a passion for books and helped write and develop Love to Read. Each month she'll highlight the best books the literary world has to offer.

This week, Stacey looks at two very different novels – Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis

1.Sky Hawk

Are you looking for a great book to read alongside Darwin’s Delights? I have just the thing.

‘An edge-of-your-seat wildlife adventure that tells a very human story of friendship, discovery and an incredible journey. I loved it!’ (Kate Humble, Presenter of BBC’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch)

The story is set in the Scottish Highlands where two children, Callum and Iona, form a close bond whilst secretly protecting a pair of nesting ospreys. After a sad and rather shocking event in the middle part of the story (no spoilers!), the second half follows Iris, the osprey, as she makes her perilous migration to Africa, tracked by Callum.

The story explores themes of friendship, caring for and respecting wildlife, nature and conservation. It’s very readable and moves you to tears at times with its likeable and down-to-earth characters.

The book raises interesting questions, not only about how we treat wildlife, but how we treat each other. The contrasting landscapes of Scotland and The Gambia make spectacular settings and will enable you to include a bit of geography.

There’s a Love to Read guide available to accompany this novel, full of ideas to help children practise their skills in inference, prediction and identifying key literary features.

Because of its wildlife theme, this book would go particularly well alongside our Darwin’s Delights ILP. And funnily enough, Gill Lewis has said that the book she would most like to have written is On the Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin himself!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

3. The secret garden

Have you been digging around for a suitable novel to read alongside our Year 5 ILP, Allotment?

We’ve just unearthed a fresh new Love to Read guide based on the classic novel, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

It has a great opening line: ‘When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen!’

Orphaned at ten, Mary is a spoilt and sour-faced child sent to live with her reclusive uncle in a grand, gothic mansion on the Yorkshire moors. She discovers a buried key leading to a secret garden and begins to change for the better, aided by the restorative powers of the garden. She makes friends, solves a mystery, has adventures and becomes a much kinder person.

Our Love to Read guide gives you a plot synopsis, details about the author, characters and setting, and information on how language and literary devices are used. It’s perfect for getting up to speed with key themes and meanings. It’s also packed with questions and activities that encourage children to talk about their reading.

Love to Read success story

Holmer Lake Primary School implemented Love to Read in September 2015, following the introduction of the Cornerstones Curriculum earlier in the year.

Headteacher, Siân Deane, and Key Stage 2 Leader, Craig Wilkinson, have already seen an improvement in reading at the school and are so impressed, they invited us to Holmer Lake to see first-hand the impact Love to Read has had.

Check back for the full success story and video interviews with staff and children.

Published by

Melanie Moore

Mel is Curriculum Director and the author of the Cornerstones Curriculum. She writes, edits and oversees all curriculum materials and leads our creative team. Mel has over 20 years of primary teaching experience, including as a deputy headteacher. She has also been a teacher adviser and a local authority strategy adviser.

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