Category Archives: Reading and Literacy

The Dragon Gold Trilogy

Dragon Red, the final part of the Dragon Gold Trilogy is at the printers and is due out on the 1st March – not long to go!

Firefly Press have made this great poster for it for the Year of Legends 2017 – a wonderful Promotion that is underway in Wales this year.

If you have read the first two books, then you will know that Ryan’s dad was on the prowl at the end of Dragon White.

What new damage can he do and how is it all linked to Harri and Tân’s destiny?

Will the two dragons, Tân & Draca face each other again or will the North Wales Police Force put an end to things first?

It’s so exciting… and I know what happens!



Questions for a Children’s Author

I visited St Paul’s CofE Primary School in Gloucester last week and some of the children still had questions to ask when our time was up. I asked their teacher Mrs Bevan, to send me an email with the questions I hadn’t answered, and promised to make a video for her and her class 5.

Having made the video, I though I might share it on my website too!

I mention that Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, is my favourite book. I made a video explaining why. You can see it here:

These are the questions that Year 5 asked

Lesley-Joyce:

  • How long does it take you to write your books?
  • Did you make the character Harri like drawing because you like drawing too?
  • Is it possible for you to give our school a couple of your books to put in our library? (her question – honest!?) Vikki asked this too!

Ethan:

  • How many books do you sell in a year?
  • Is it hard to write books?

Bea:

  • Who is your favourite character out of all of the books you’ve written? (Finnley asked this too)
  • What’s your most recent book?

Karl:

  • Where do you get your ideas from for your books and characters?

Gabko:

  • What is your favourite book that you haven’t written?

Vikki, Jennifer, Mario also asked the same questions as the ones above!

 

Full Stop. Comma, new Paragraph – all you need to write anything.

Sometimes, when I hear of the complicated grammar that primary children have to learn, I want to cry. The grammar that the curriculum requires them to learn is not to help them read or write, but to help academic examiners tick boxes.

Reading and marking a piece of writing is a difficult and subjective process. It requires effort. Ticking required items of grammar and keywords is much easier. But that doesn’t produce readers or writers. With all the effort that has been put into Literacy in the last 20 years, how come we still have a problem with struggling writers and reluctant readers?

In the world of music, three chords are all it takes to write multi-million selling songs that colour and punctuate our lives. Do we then still need complicated classical or jazz music to show off the rarified aspects of musical composition? Yes, we need it all. But we accept that some people write simple music and others write complicated music. We accept that complicated composition is a subject for experts – not beginners.

Most people listen to, understand and receive all the solace, fun, and entertainment they require from just three chords.

When great classical music reaches the soul, it is usually through simple moods and catchy melody lines – not because of the use of esoteric composition techniques. Once hooked, a few become aficionados and learn to understand the hidden complexities.

To write, all the grammar you need, is a full stop, a comma and a new paragraph – clear handwriting helps too.

To know what to write, one needs experience so you have something to write about. To know how to write, one needs to see how it is done and that means reading. Not reading to analyse grammar, but reading to seek knowledge, understanding and even for simple fun and entertainment. Reading lets you see how others do it.

As you read, you see how other writers glue the words together and, by a process of osmosis, learn to do the same.

If you don’t read, you will never see how the trick is done. If you spend all your time learning grammar, you will have all the tools but have no raw materials to work with.

Full Stop. Comma, new paragraph. The three chord trick of writing is all you need to write anything. If you want to progress and add a bit of sophistication to colour your voice, try an exclamation mark! Most everything else can be inferred.