“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”Roald Dahl, Matilda
Reading at home during lockdown January 2021
A number of reading, writing and poetry organisations are offering their resources and products for free during these more challenging times. Here’s our pick of the best in addition to the brilliant links detailed further below:
– Visit World Book Day for a host of fantastic resources including writer’s workshop video, free audiobooks, podcasts, competitions and events. Our pick of the best can be found here.
– ‘Poetry for Good’ is looking for poems which highlight and celebrate the crucial role that key workers play in keeping our nation safe, well, and on the move from office cleaners and couriers to shop workers and nurses. If a budding poet, put pen to paper and reveal in your own words, the voices and stories of people whose work is often done unseen by many others. There are great prizes to be won as well as the pleasure and experience of seeing your work in the public sphere. To enter, email your poem (see categories in the link) to Ms Harrison: firstname.lastname@example.org by 19th March 2021.
– Visit the National Literature Trust’s (NLT) Family Zone (Years 7 and 8) which is chock full of free activities and ideas including the Beautiful Book of Hope.
– Oak National Academy has just set up a new virtual school library as of 18th January 2021. Each week, a children’s author or illustrator will share one of their books in an easy-to-read online format, a video and their top three recommended reads. This week it’s the ever-popular Jacqueline Wilson and her story, The Story of Tracy Beaker. Do visit the site each week to see which surprise guest is next. Fans of Jacqueline Wilson, you will not be disappointed!
– Also from the NLT for Years 9 and above, their Zone In hub contains weekly challenges, exclusive celebrity videos, free audiobooks and activities on a wide range of topics from breakdancing to stand-up comedy to CV writing.
– #Quaranteens sees a diverse mix of reading and writing creative activities for all interests.
– Audible Stories – access to free eAudiobooks for as long as schools are closed. We recommend Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone narrated by Stephen Fry, The Secret Garden narrated by Johanna Ward, Squint written by Chad Morris and Frankenstein narrated by Dan Stevens.
– Authorfy’s 10 minute challenges set by bestselling authors and illustrators including Laura Dockrill, Derek Landy and Ben Miller.
– Project Gutenberg – a library of over 60,000 free out-of-copyright eBoo
There’s a wealth reading and writing of sources out there just waiting to be discovered. Click on each icon to start a new reading, writing or drawing journey.
The ‘Libby’ app lets you borrow e-books, audiobooks, music, and more for free from your local public library or Idea Store.
World Book Day has published a host of brilliant resources including free audio books, fun ideas and crafty activities for all ages. We particularly like the author and illustrator video masterclasses and bedtime stories.
Authorfy brings readers and writers closer together with video masterclasses and fun downloadable activities in the ‘creative’ hub. Definitely take a look at their 10 minute writing and drawing challenges set by bestselling authors and illustrators including Laura Dockrill, Derek Landy and Ben Miller.
The Children’s Poetry Archive: an archive of spoken poetry recordings where you can search by theme, age or device!
The National Poetry Library is the largest public collection of modern poetry in the world. They have a large collection of brilliant, moving, funny and groundbreaking poems that you can read online, as well as a quote-finding service.
Explore centuries of stories, poems and illustrations (have a go at drawing the Gruffalo!) with the British Library’s Discovering Children’s Books.
The First Story writing programme has been running in George Green’s School since 2012. Writing alongside published writers including Nii Parkes, Laura Dockrill, Kate Kingsley, Steven Camden, Hannah Silva and Pete Hobbs, seven anthologies containing over 150 students’ work have been published (our eighth is due out in September). Their National Writing Day (24th June 2020) website has interactive and creative resources to help you on your creative writing journey.
Fantastic Fiction: a great site for tracking down what an author has written as wells as finding out the number of books in series, as well as their order.
LoveReading4Kids is the one biggest recommendation sites for children’s books where you will be able to find a book for you whatever your age or interest.
Book recommendations, free extracts from best selling writers and lots of great activities including quizzes on the classics. If you’re a fan of Roald Dahl, you’ll love this website.
Visit the NLT’s Family Zone which is chock full of free activities and ideas including the Beautiful Book of Hope: an extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures from more than 110 writers and illustrators including Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, Liz Pichon and Jacqueline Wilson.
The Poetry Foundation: discover and celebrate the best poetry on offer from the greats to emerging writers.
A must for all Harry Potter fans. Learn more about your favourite magical creatures, characters and locations, and watch Harry himself read Chapter One of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone closely followed by Eddie Redmayne.
For comic fans, ComiXology hosts free digital comics (requires a ComiXology or Amazon sign-in).
Poetry by Heart is an annual poetry recitation competition for schools and colleges in England. It houses showcase collections (a little like art exhibitions) of poems from key literary movements including the Romantics and celebrates all 154 of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. The timelines are definitely worth a visit or sign up for a poem to be delivered to your inbox each week.