Comments 16

Supporting The Young Emergent Writer

Emma is now 6 and in her second year of primary school education. She can read simple books and writes about everything that entertains her imagination, using phonetic sounding.

Although Emma is confident in both her reading and writing, her school and lovely teacher encourage learning reinforcement at home and this is something I really believe in. Having worked for years as a substitute teacher in numerous schools in Northern Ireland and as a special needs classroom assistant for a short spell last year, I know the amazing difference educational support at home can make.

I have always encouraged Emma to appreciate books and the house is coming down at the moment with information books which are appropriate for her age. Her mind is like a sponge and she can retain impressive detail and information about everything, so we are nurturing her thirst of knowledge by always reading with her or listening to her read to us.

Her favourite series is the Wonderwise Collection, which we got from The Book People for £14.99 last year. The series’ 20 books contain a wealth of information regarding the world, the human body, animals and history, all wonderfully presented in a comprehensive and fun way which would capture any young child’s attention. I couldn’t recommend the series enough.

Wonderwise Collection

Imaginative and constructive play should always be seen as part of learning. Emma is regularly getting to review the latest toys, thanks to my blogging, and play leads to reading and learning naturally. She has loved watching The Good Dinosaur before Christmas so when we were offered the latest movie toys from TOMY, I saw them as an opportunity for creative play AND learning.

Good dinosaur

Inspired by the movie and assisted by her speaking dinosaur and cool mask, Emma replayed the story and then created new scenarios. Some of her ideas got transcribed into writing and made for some hilarious stories she read us at bedtime. Using the same theme she loves, we further used the opportunity to work on her  reading by borrowing from the library The Good Dinosaur, The Essential Guide.Emma was able to decipher new information about the characters and the plot and her confidence as a reader grew.


Her reading confidence increased even more with the latest Dr. Seuss’s book, What Pet Should I Get?, we got to review this January. Nicholas Blincoe reviewed Seuss’s lost and found (some 25 years later!) book manuscript for the Telegraph last August with elation and gratitude and this were exactly our feelings towards this gem of a book too! For an emergent reader, repetition can be reassuring when in the right creative context and Dr. Seuss’s books provide just that! A wonderful new world of possibilities to explore and expand on, combined with the linguistic reassurance of surprising and innovative repetition, would always make for popular reads with young readers. The latest book is pure genius as its open end encourages organically the young reader to expand on possible scenarios and endings for the story and leads to multiples writing opportunities.

What Pet Should We Get?

I left the best writing improvement tool we have found for the last, as I want to take my time and write about it in a bit more detail.

The Night Zoo Keeper and the Spying Giraffes was brought to my attention as a fantastic reading and writing support book and it hasn’t disappointed. Emma has loved having it read and many times, I have seen her “jump” in the story and creating her own imaginary characters and plots, inspired by the great story line.

Night Zoo KeeperThe Night Keeper is a great magical story about an ordinary boy whose imaginary characters come to life in a magical zoo, of which he is designated zookeeper. Tom is the boy next door with whom every single school child can identify but his mission is much more important and intriguing than what is perceived at a first glance. His important mission transpires to be bringing back imagination and play in a land where Conformity has taken rule. A magical tale which will inspire many, many children to look beyond the ordinary and empower them to create their own extraordinary universe and stories.

And this is where Joshua Davidson, the author and manager director of the project is a trail blazer, as he took an excellent book and transformed it into a literacy program. A toolkit which has the potential to bring back creativity and imagination into the classroom and empower entire schools to improve literacy by the magic of storytelling and by children’s enthusiastic involvement.

I hope to see many schools joining in the fun.  I have brought the program to the attention of Emma’s school principal and I hope to see schools in Northern Ireland bringing the fun back into literacy classes with its help.

I truly hope you have enjoyed reading this post and you have found inspiration in how to make learning fun at home for your young children.


  1. Izzie Anderton says

    All fabulous suggestions. I hadn’t even realised there was a new Dr Seuss book out!

  2. There is so much resource out there now for parents to help encourage their children to become keen readers, and a wealth of great books for them to enjoy. Emma seems to really love her books – a great round-up!

  3. snowingindoors says

    Those books look brilliant, Annie is a keen reader and writer, she loves nothing more than stapling sheets of paper together and writing a ‘book’! It makes me so proud to see her love of the written word.

  4. We always loved Dr Suess. I have a house full of books and want the boys to feel the same way I do about words and reading.

  5. My youngest is also year 2 and loved The Good Dinosaur film so think he would love that book. We are big fans of the library – will look out for it on our next visit. xx

  6. I am taking my kids to see the good dinosaur this weekend complete with that mask. We love the Night Zookeeper here and my headteacher was convinced enough to book them so keep an eye on my blog for the results

  7. Cass@FrugalFamily says

    My two used to love reading but school have made it more of a chore for them by saying they must read so many pages a night and they have to read a full book in a set period of time regardless of how long it is. I want to encourage them to read because they love reading and not because they’re told they have to x x

  8. It’s so lovely to be able to encourage a child’s imagination. I loved that phase when my children first started developing their own interests in books.

  9. What a great round up! I always spend money on books, it seems to be one of those things which feels a bit guilt-free to indulge in for the children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s