The Phoenix Comic Crashes The Summer Reading Challenge

The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge 2020 has joined forces with The Phoenix comic to bring more ‘silly’ fun to the nation’s most popular reading challenge.

A special take-over issue of the comic featuring activities, information and illustrations from Jamie Smart, Adam Stower and official Summer Reading Challenge illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson will be on sale from Friday 17th July with a FREE digital edition made available on the Summer Reading Challenge website from today (Wednesday 15th July 2020) until the end of September 2020.

Emma Braithwaite, Programme Manager, Children’s Reading, The Reading Agency says:

“We’ve always been big fans of The Phoenix at The Reading Agency, so we’re incredibly excited to team up with them for this special edition to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge. Comics are a fantastic way to engage children with reading – with their smart, funny stories and amazing illustrations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We want to say a huge thank you to The Phoenix for generously allowing us to host the special edition on our website, so that children taking part in the Challenge can read it for free this summer.”

Tom Fickling, Managing Director, The Phoenix says:

“We are absolutely delighted to partner with The Reading Agency to help spread the word about the Summer Reading Challenge. Getting kids of all ages reading is at the absolute heart of everything The Phoenix does. At a time when the pandemic has affected physical access to schools and libraries, schemes like The Summer Reading Challenge are more important than ever. So, get to the website and get reading!” 

The Summer Reading Challenge is the biggest children’s reading for pleasure programme in the UK. Last year over 700,000 children and their families took part. Please encourage your children to read anything that makes them happy – whether it be a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print format, from e-book lending through the public library service or from what they already have at home, with the Summer Reading Challenge official book collection as a guide.   #SillySquad2020


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Join The Silly Squad for this Year’s Summer Reading Challenge

With the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the impact of social distancing on schools and public libraries,
The Reading Agency’s annual Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital for 2020.

The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4-11 to read during the long summer holiday with
research showing that children’s reading can ‘dip’ severely during the summer if they do not have regular access
to books. This year’s theme will also encourage children to read anything that makes them happy – whether it
be a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print format, from e-book lending through the
public library service or from what they already have at home, with the Summer Reading Challenge official book
collection as a guide.
The new digital Challenge launches today with a whole host of virtual (super silly) events
with guest celebrities and authors. The website is free to access, featuring games, quizzes and
downloadable activities to encourage children and their families to take part in the Challenge at
home. Although library buildings are closed, libraries will also continue to deliver the Challenge through virtual
services and e-lending platforms. You can sign up and get started here.
We’d love you to get involved this summer and join the #SillySquad2020. Head over to the Summer Reading Challenge Facebook page for the virtual launch party from 4pm today, hosted by Sam & Mark from CBBC.

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Empathy Day Activity Pack

Next Tuesday is Empathy Day, where the focus is on how reading can help children (and adults) to build empathy.

Empathy has been described as a human superpower. It’s our ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings. Empathy is made up of three main elements:

  • feeling,
  • thinking
  • acting.
This video shows the difference between sympathy and empathy.
In the run up to Empathy Day, Empathy Lab have created a lovely activity pack of things you can do to build an understanding of what empathy is and encourage it at home.

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Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls and David Litchfield

Walker Books has released Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls and illustrated by David Litchfield as a free eBook to raise awareness for Save the Children’s Save with Stories campaign which is helping children most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The rainbow has become an incredible symbol of hope and optimism during this time and we hope that this uplifting story can be a source of comfort and light to children and families, and that it inspires anyone who is able to do so, to donate to the Save with Stories campaign.

You can download this beautiful free book from here.

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Cannon Park Poetry Week

“You can find poetry in your everyday life, your memory, in what people say on the bus, in the news, or just what’s in your heart.”

Carol Ann Duffy

From nursery rhymes to Norse myths and picture books to pop songs, poetry has always been used to tell stories. Poems are a lovely way of thinking carefully about the words you choose to describe something, someone or somewhere, or to tell a story. This week is poetry week and each day, we’ll be challenging you to create a specific type of poem.

There is also a challenge that may take you a little longer to complete than the daily challenges, should you wish to take it on! Performance poetry is a real skill to perfect but is hugely entertaining to do and for others to watch. There is even a building society using performance poetry in their adverts on TV!

We’d like you to pick a poem, (it could be one you’ve written or one you love by someone else) rehearse it and then perform it for your family. If you could share it with us in your Google Classroom on Friday this week, that would be brilliant too. Remember not to include other family members in your recording though!

Someone who is really rather good at performance poetry is Michael Rosen, so I’m going to let him give you some hints and tips on how to do it really well.

All of the class stories this week will be links to poets, so they will give you ideas of how other poets perform too.

We look forward to seeing all of your poetry over the course of the week,


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VE Day Celebrations and a Competition

As you all know, this Friday is the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, which marks the end of the fighting in Europe during the Second World War. Nearly 18 million service people were killed on Europe’s battlefields on all sides, as well as 45 million ordinary people.

Germany surrendered on 7th May 1945.  The 8th of May was declared a national holiday, and large crowds gathered to celebrate together, and street parties, parades and thanksgiving services were held across Britain. They were a mix of relief at the fighting finally being over, thanks that so many people had survived and sadness at all of the suffering and lives lost, as well as understanding that communities would now have to start rebuilding their lives.

While many celebrations were planned for this year in Coventry and around the rest of the country, unfortunately because of Covid-19 we can’t gather in crowds and many cannot go ahead. But that does not mean that we can’t celebrate in our homes with our families!

There are lots of activities to keep you busy, while learning about an important part of our history.

The BBC have created the Great British Bunting Pack which is free to download. If you don’t have a printer, you can use the instructions to create your own templates. There are also posters and colouring pages for you to complete here.

We would love to see photos of any preparations you are making and any celebrations you hold. There is even a VE Party Planning Page with recipes people used on 8th May 1945 and a suggested play list (just click on the picture to be taken to it on Spotify). And no party would be complete without a delicious dessert.  This is why Great British Bake Off Judge, Prue Leith, has released a special flapjack recipe to help you bake a traditional treat while you stay home, save lives, and celebrate #VEDay75.

On Friday 8th, there will be a special VE Day story in you Google Classrooms at 10.30am (as well as your usual story at 3pm), before the official commemorations begin at 11am, with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence. Details of other activities taking place, including the broadcast of Winston Churchill’s famous speech, during the day can be found here.

And don’t forget to mark this historic occasion, Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945, followed by a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’. Open your doors and join in with this national moment of celebration.


∇*∇*∇*∇*∇ Competition Time ∇*∇*∇*∇*∇

Historian, Dan Snow, is looking for budding journalists to find out how you would tell the story of VE Day today to mark this special 75th anniversary. You could:

  • Write a short news report in the style of today or 75 years ago
  • Make a short video that tells the story of VE Day, either in the style of 75 years ago or how you would tell it today
  • Design a newspaper front page or article
  • Write or perform a poem, song, drawing or other work of art
  • Share the story of someone in your family or area who was involved in the War
  • Write or perform a short play about VE Day and what it would have been like 75 years ago

The best entries will be featured on the official VE Day Website, which has a host of useful links to assist you with your research. Details of how to enter can be found here. Entries need to be submitted by Wednesday 6th May.

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Reading Resources

There are a wide range of resources to help you to continue accessing books during lockdown. While many independent bookshops have closed, Amazon and Waterstones are still open online, although delivery may take longer than usual.

Scholastic Learning Zone Library

All children in Key Stage 2 (Year 3-6) have access to the Scholastic Learning Zone Library, with lots of ebooks available both fiction and non-fiction for them to read.

Amazon and Audible

For as long as schools are closed, Amazon have made some their Audible resources for children free. Children everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being children. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet – just follow this link to start listening.

Amazon have also made a number of Kindle Books available for free download. Click here for more information.

Oxford Owl

Oxford Owl have a wide range of free ebooks on their website suitable for the whole primary age range, as well as a section on Phonics and Maths Games. Take a look here.

British Library

The British Library has a host of activities inspired by well know children’s stories, poems and illustrations. Find out more here.

Coventry City Libraries

If you are a member of Coventry City Libraries, you can access all of their e-books, e-comics and audio books for free using the service provided by Borrow Box. Don’t worry if you haven’t joined up already – you can sign up online for temporary access. You can find more information here.

The Schools Library Service are also running a Virtual Book Club with challenges and ideas to inspire you.

National Literacy Trust

The Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children in Lockdown has been released today, which can be read exclusively online at the National Literacy Trust. It’s a collaboration of short stories, poems and illustrations with contributions from over 100 authors and illustrators – it’s well worth a look!


Some publishers have put together activities based on their books, and are releasing audio stories daily. Click on the links below to see what they have on offer for you.

Barrington Stoke

Chicken House

Nosy Crow




Toppsta is a book review website where you can win a book in exchange for a review, many of which before their publication date. Find out how here.

CBeebies Bedtime Stories

Many of the bedtime stories from CBeebies can be accessed on their YouTube Channel, here.

And don’t forget to:

  • Check our school Twitter feed every day for a list of lots of bookish activities, whether it’s a chat with an author, a draw a long session, or storytime.
  • Listen to your class story every week day at 3pm in your Google Classroom.

If you are stuck for ideas about what to read next, you can always ask in your Google Classroom. I’m sure we can come up with some great ideas together!

Happy reading,

Miss Cleveland

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Investigating forces and mechanisms.

This afternoon, Year 5 were challenged to make a working shaduf.

shaduf, also spelled shadoof, is a hand-operated device for lifting water, invented in ancient times and still used in India, Egypt, and some other countries to irrigate land. Typically it consists of a long, tapering, nearly horizontal pole mounted like a seesaw.

They had to use their knowledge of forces and mechanisms to investigate the best way to build one with the materials available…


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Video Book Reviews

Year 5 had a reflective morning thinking about some of their favourite books, and then created some amazing video reviews. One was for this year’s winning book in the Hooked On Books category for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards. We’d like to say a huge congratulations to Kirsty Applebaum for winning – we loved The Middler – and a massive thank you to Coventry School Library Service who organise the awards each year. As you can tell from this video, all of the children have loved taking part, and have all got involved!

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World Book Day, Thursday 5th March 📚

Thursday 5th March is World Book Day, and to celebrate sharing books and stories, we’ll be celebrating in a number of different ways, and would love you to join in.

The Great Bookish Bake-Off

Children’s books from The Faraway Tree to Harry Potter, The Hungry Caterpillar to The Great Chocoplot are packed with delicious delicacies to tempt our taste buds. We would love to create a book-based cake inspired by your favourite book. Whether it’s all about the decoration, or trying to recreate a famous treat we’ll be looking for creativity and originality, visual impact and relevance to your chosen book. After last year’s amazing entries, we’re really excited to see what you can come up with this year. Miss Roberts has already shown me her bake, can you guess which book character it is?

All entries will be sold in The Barn at the end of the school day to raise funds to buy new library books.

Bedtime Stories

There is nothing better than settling down with someone to share a story at bedtime, so please remember to come to school in your pyjamas and bring your favourite book with you to share with your friends. Please remember, you need to come to school in sensible footwear and must have outdoor shoes for playtimes.

The Big Read

We are also inviting parents/carers to come in to your child’s class at 3.00pm to share stories at the end of our school day.The gates will be unlocked at 2.55pm. Please line up and sign in to go to your youngest child’s class (older siblings will join your there), to join in with our Big Read.

For safeguarding purposes, we will need to close and lock the gate again at 3.00pm, and unfortunately will not be able to let parents in through the main office.

We look forward to seeing you on World Book Day.

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