Lesson video

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Hello everyone, my name is Ms. Madden.

I'm really looking forward to sharing book recommendations with you today.

Let's get started.

In today's lesson we will begin by thinking about why we are recommending books.

Why do it at all? Then we will look at some poetry and poets.

We will move on to share some recommendations about picture books and think about our favourite illustrators.

Then we will share some recommendations about non-fiction texts before finally writing your own book recommendation.

In this lesson you will need a book or some paper, something to write with, a pencil or a pen, and it could be helpful to have a sticky note like a Post-it Note.

But this isn't essential, so don't worry if you don't have one.

Can you press pause and get those things now? Fantastic.

Okay, let's start off by thinking about why we're recommending books.

Who recommends books to you? Have a think.

Who is the last person to suggest a book to you that you read? Has that happened before? Perhaps it was a parent.

Perhaps it was a friend.

Perhaps it was a librarian.

Perhaps it was someone on television or perhaps you read a book review in a comic.

Have a think and say it out loud.

Okay, well done.

Who do you recommend books to? Have you ever recommended a book? Have you ever read a book and thought this is so great, I just know that this person would love it? Can you press pause and say their names aloud? So why is this business of recommending books important? Recommending books is important because it helps build up a culture of talking about books.

And the more we talk about books with our friends and our family the more we encourage each other to read great books and do more reading for pleasure.

Just like you might talk about games that you love or television that you enjoy watching or films that you've loved, we can do the same about books.

And we build up a buzz around books and create excitement about a book that you might want to read.

And then if you and another friend or a family member read the same book, you can talk about it together.

And that's one of the great things in life to do, is talk about books with people you know.

So sometimes we talk about what's trending.

Perhaps you've heard that phrase used in relation to television when you might see what's trending on Netflix, for example.

So what's trending in the world of books? Is there a book that you know that loads of people are reading and really love at this moment? Perhaps it's something new that's come out or perhaps it's something old that people just rediscovered.

Can you pause and say aloud what's trending right now? Fabulous.

Perhaps you've got an idea of some books that you think should be trending.

If other people knew about them, they'd read them and love them.

We want to make book recommendations to help create buzz and excitement about reading, and perhaps you'll start the next trend.

Okay, if you've done some of the other reading for pleasure lessons, we'll have done this before.

But what is a genre? What is genre, this idea of genre? Can you remember? Press pause and say it aloud now.

Genre is a style or category of art, music, or literature.

Perhaps you remembered that from before and perhaps you didn't know that in which case that's fine.

It's just a term that we use to describe the style of art, music, or literature.

And in this context, we're thinking about books.

This is important today because when we're thinking about making book recommendations, often it's helpful to talk about the genre of writing that we're promoting, the style of writing or the category.

There are so many different genres.

Here are just some examples.

You could have biographical writing, a biography, historical fiction, science fiction, mystery.

Poetry is a genre that we're going to look at today.

Traditional literature, fantasy, or non-fiction.

And non-fiction is another genre that we're going to look at today.

Remember, there are so many different genres, but this can be helpful to categorise when we are making our recommendations.

So now we're going to have a little think about some poets and poetry.

Do you know any poets? Could you say their names? Can you remember? Perhaps you've studied some poetry in school before.

Can you press pause and say the names of all the poets you can think of? Well done.

Perhaps you found that quite easy.

Perhaps you found it quite difficult.

Did you know that many adults including teachers actually find it really, really hard to name a lot of poets? So I wanted to introduce you to some contemporary poets that you might not know.

So here are five pictures of some contemporary poets, people who are writing poetry at present day at this time, and these five poets are actually quite famous.

I wonder if you recognise any of them.

If you do, press pause and say their names aloud now.

If you don't, don't worry.

Here are their names.

Now that you've seen their names, I wonder if you could match their names to any of their pictures, if you think oh, I did know who Michael Rosen was and I think this is his picture.

If you think you've got a better idea, press pause and match them up now.

Well done.

Now perhaps you did know something about them, perhaps you didn't, don't worry.

I'm just going to tell you a little bit about each of these poets.

First of all, we have Carol Ann Duffy.

Now I chose to include Carol Ann Duffy because she was actually the first female Poet Laureate.

She's a Scottish poet.

So she was the first female poet to be appointed in this prestigious position.

Next we have Michael Rosen.

Now you may well have heard of Michael Rosen.

He's a very, very popular children's poet.

He's an author too.

And he's also been a Children's Laureate.

He writes really funny poetry.

Here we have Benjamin Zephaniah, another British poet.

I love Benjamin Zephaniah's poem "Talking Turkeys." He's very funny and thought provoking.

Now Benjamin Zephaniah says that a lot of his poetry is influenced by the poetry and music of Jamaica.

Next we have Kae Tempest.

Now Kae Tempest is a very successful performer and poet.

And I chose Kae Tempest to show that poets often are writers or playwrights, sometimes singers at the same time.

And there's all sorts of different poetry that they write and perform covering all sorts of different things.

Finally, I have Jackie Kay who is another very successful Scottish poet.

So now you've seen five contemporary poets.

Perhaps next time you're in a library or a book shop or a school book corner you might see if you can find any poetry written by one of them.

Or you could ask a teacher or an adult do you know any of these poets? Here I have two collections of poetry that I would like to recommend to you.

The first is called "A Kid in My Class," and it's poems by Rachel Rooney and illustrations by Chris Riddell.

This is a collection of very funny and clever school-themed poems. Or perhaps I should say a collection of pupils in the class because each poem is about different people.

These poems are really, really enjoyable and great to dip in and out of.

Whenever you have a spare five minutes, you can open it up and read a new poem about a new character.

Next I'd like to recommend "Overheard in a Tower Block," poems by Joseph Coelho.

Each poem in this collection gives us a glimpse into the life of the main character as he moves from young boy through adolescence into adulthood.

This is a really powerful and moving collection.

I wonder if you'd like to read one of these.

If so, which one? Next, we're going to have a look at another genre, picture books and illustrators.

The genre is picture books, but illustrators write our picture books.

Who is your favourite illustrator? Do you have one? Perhaps you have a picture book that you'd like to recommend to others.

Can you press pause and write down any of your ideas now? Here are two picture books that I would like to recommend to you.

The first is a really important book.

This book is called "We Are All Born Free" and it's in fact the universal declaration of human rights in pictures.

So each human right has been illustrated by a different illustrator.

And the the right is explained and portrayed in a different way.

I love this book because it's really, really important to think about and remember what our human rights are, but also I love spotting the different illustrators and pouring over the pictures and thinking about them.

The next book I'd like to recommend is a picture book called "Varmints." This is a really rich picture book.

There's so much to talk about and think about in it.

You can see that it's won an award and it's also been turned into a short animation.

It explores really important themes to do with the environment.

I hope you enjoy one of these.

Would you like to read one of them? If so, point to it now.

Next, I'd like to think about non-fiction books with you.

Perhaps you read a lot of non-fiction already or perhaps you stick to fiction.

What are your favourite non-fiction books? Do you have any that you think you'd like to recommend? Press pause and write these down now.

Here I have two recommendations for you that I think you'd really enjoy.

The first is called "Survivors" and it's actually part of a series of books in the Animal Science series.

And these are written by Nicola Davies who you might know has written lots and lots of books about nature and animals and science.

And this book is illustrated by someone called Neal Layton and the illustrations bring a lot to this picture book.

Well, it's not, it's a non.

Here are two non-fiction books that I would like to recommend to you.

The first is called "Survivors" and this comes from a series called Animal Science written by Nicola Davies who you may know from writing many other non-fiction books about animals and nature.

It's illustrated by Neal Layton.

I think the illustrations bring a huge amount to this book.

There's lots of humour and sometimes comic strips to explain an idea.

The information included in this book is really interesting and funny.

Sometimes when I read a non-fiction book about animals, I find that I know a lot of the information already, but that won't be the case when you read this book.

There really is lots of fascinating new information that you will find really interesting.

The second book I'd like to recommend is "Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls' Rights." Now this is an illustrated adaptation of Malala's memoir.

You may have heard of Malala Yousafzai.

She's the youngest ever person to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

She's really, truly inspirational, and I think that you'll find this a fascinating autobiography to see what she has achieved.

Do either of these books look good to you? Would you like to read one of them? So now is your opportunity to plan your recommended reads.

Perhaps you've thought of one already or now's an opportunity to think about what you would like to recommend to a friend.

Pause and write down all the titles that you think that you could recommend.

Fantastic, it's time to get going with our book recommendations.

So what makes a good recommendation? Well first and foremost, you need to make sure that you are recommending a text or a book that you actually think is good, is worthwhile recommending.

Then we need to think about what forms the written content of the recommendation.

You might talk about the genre and start of the book.

If it's fiction, you might give some information about the setting and the characters.

You can see next that I've crossed out synopsis.

This is because a book recommendation is not the time to give a detailed account of what happens in the entire plot if it's fiction.

We just need a very small amount of information to give us an outline of what it's about or what could happen.

You might want to talk about other similar stories, texts, or authors.

If you like this poet, then you might enjoy this book of poetry.

If you like these kinds of non-fiction books, then this one will appeal to you.

You should definitely include why you liked it because that will encourage someone else to read it.

And you may want to include how did it make you feel.

These are just some of the ideas of what you could include in your book recommendation.

However, it's your recommendation, so you choose what to put in it.

I'm going to show you an example now.

This is for a book that I love called "Can You See Me?" Here is my recommendation.

You can press pause and read this yourself and then I will read it aloud.

Press pause and read now.

Okay, I'm going to read it aloud to you: I love the novel "Can You See Me?" by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcroft.

It's about Tally's experience during her first year at her new school.

Tally has autism and feels like she has to act normal.

Did you know that it is inspired by co-author Libby Scott's own experiences of autism? It is very moving.

If you like stories about real-life experiences such as "Wonder," then this is the book for you.

I hope you might like to read this book.

I want to point out a few things that I included in my book recommendation.

First of all, can you see, I used inverted commas around the book title? That's a convention.

We put our inverted comments around the title.

Then you can see I very briefly said what the book is about.

"It is about." I didn't say loads and loads, but I said it just in one sentence.

Then I introduced an interesting fact.

Did you know? "Did you know it's inspired by co-author Libby Scott's own experiences of autism?" So there might be something interesting that you could tell about the book you're recommending.

Then in my bold in pink, "It is very moving." I've included how the book made me feel.

And finally, I've made a recommendation.

If you like this, then you'll probably like this book.

So I've said, "If you liked stories about real-life experiences such as 'Wonder,'" which is a very popular book that I think lots of people have heard of, "then this is the book for you." So those are some ideas and examples of aspects that you can include in your recommendation.

And you don't have to do a long recommendation.

If you had some Post-its, you could also do some short recommendations, some sticky note recommendations.

And this is just where you write a single sentence or two sentences about a text on a Post-it or you could do it on a slip of paper and pop it inside the front cover so that when someone sees this book they see your Post-it and they think oh, look, Ms. Madden recommended this, and they can read it.

For example, with the book "Mic Drop" here, I've said, "I love this book because it's an exciting mystery and also very funny." So there's two kinds of recommendations that you could do.

You could do a longer written recommendation and you could also do sticky note recommendations.

Perhaps you will write several.

The more books you can recommend, the better.

Now remember, always write your ideas in full sentences.

For example, I love this book because full stop.

Or I think you would love it if full stop.

Press pause and write your first two sentences down now.


So now's your opportunity to complete your recommendations or write a second and a third.

You might be recommending to a friend.

You might recommend to a family member, parent or carer.

You might recommend to a teacher because we want to create as much excitement and anticipation about reading as possible.

It's so fun to talk about books.

So press pause and write those recommendations.

Well done.

We've covered a lot in this lesson.

We've thought about why recommend books.

I've introduced you to some poets and recommended some poetry.

We've talked about illustrators and looked at picture books.

I've recommended some non-fiction texts to you.

And most importantly, you have written your own book recommendation.

Congratulations, you have completed your lesson.

Happy reading.