Category: English

Year 3 and 4 meet Matt Goodfellow

This afternoon, Year 3 and 4 got to meet Matt Goodfellow who poets all over the UK and beyond. Matt is proud to be a National Poetry Day Ambassador for the Forward Arts Foundation and has worked with all sorts of different people including The Premier League, The National Literacy Trust and many more…

“Matt Goodfellow was excellent – very funny.  He read us lots of his poems from his books – Bright Bursts of Colour and Being Me. They were very funny and made us laugh.  He also gave us ideas for our own poem – ‘Blessings’.  Finally, he answered our questions.”

Frog invasion

Year 3 were faced with a huge surprise in our classroom this morning.  When they entered, they found lily pads scattered across the floor and water on tables!  As detectives, they investigated who might have entered the classroom and when. What made things even more mysterious was that our new book for Literacy is called ‘Tuesday’ and is about frogs invading a city! Did they enter our classroom yesterday evening?!

After reading the story book, the children used comic strips to retell the story and thought about what might happen next Tuesday.

Super work Year 3!


Learning by Questions Ambassador

Cannon Park Primary School is now an Ambassador for Learning by Questions. LbQ is an award-winning teaching tool, which enables children to answer questions sets online right across the curriculum. Feedback from our children has been very positive and we’re happy to be an ambassador for such a high-quality online platform, which helps all children achieve their potential in school.


Year 5 interview author, Dan Smith

Having loved The Invasion Of Crooked Oak, Year 5 were thrilled when we got an early copy of Dan’s latest book, The Beast Of Harwood Forest to read before having the chance to send our questions off to him. So imagine our utter delight, when on reading our questions, Dan offered to answer them live in our classroom! But first – the book!

What’s hiding in Harwood Forest …?

When Pete, Nancy and Krish arrive at Heathland Camp for a school trip, they’re in for an adventure – just not the kind they were expecting. Nearby sits the abandoned Harwood Institute. The crumbling buildings are out of bounds but strange screams come from the surrounding forest at night. Secrecy surrounds the events that took place at the institute during the war, so Pete and his friends make it their mission to find out the truth. But the forest is hiding a sinister secret, and the trio could be in real danger…

Are some mysteries best left undisturbed?

With links to the oldest written epic poem, Beowulf, and to the mysterious world of biological engineering, The Beast Of Harwood Forest is an utterly  gripping, thriller of a book packed with suspense and delivering a growing sense of dread as we head deeper into the forest. Sci-fi horror for children at its finest, that delivers just enough scares to get hearts racing without causing nightmares!

Each of our main characters have a strong personality and together they make a great team. Chris King’s illustrations really bring the characters, settings and The Beast to life!

There are real ethical debates within this story that will help to grow empathy too.

Here’s what Year 5 thought:

  • I thought it was really interesting and I just kept wanting to read more.
  • It was really exciting and I loved listening to it.
  • It was absolutely fantastic – I loved everything about it!
  • I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
  • It was packed full of adventure and suspense and was a bit scary too. 
  • It’s inspired me to find out more about the kind of experiments he talks about in the book!

And now, to the interview!

1. Miss Cleveland has a lot of amazing books on her bookcase (including all of the ones you have written for children). Why should we pick yours?

One of the most important things about reading for pleasure is that you have a big selection of books to choose from, so it’s great to hear that Miss Cleveland has so many on her shelves. I also think it’s important to choose the books YOU want to read, so I would never say that you have to pick mine. But, if you’re looking for some sci-fi action, a story about Viking revenge, some World War II adventure, or a creepy mystery … then I’m your guy!

2. Which of your characters are you most like?

I’m not a lot like any of my characters, but I’m a little bit like all of them. Does that make sense? I think all of my characters have a little bit of me in them, but I’m not brave enough to be Pete, or clever enough to be Krish, or inventive enough to be Nancy.

3. How do you come up with your sci-fi villains?

I usually use a mixture of things that are real and things that are made-up. To me, that makes them feel more believable. For instance, the cause of the trouble in The Invasion of Crooked Oak is inspired by a very real fungus that infects insects, and The Beast of Harwood Forest is inspired by the real belief that there is something strange living in Harwood Forest – not far from where I live. I then add my own twist by taking inspiration from books and films and video games.

4. Have you ever come face to face with a beast in real life?

Well, if I had, I’d probably have to keep it secret …

5. How is writing a series different from writing a stand alone book?

The Crooked Oak stories are a series without being a series because they don’t have to be read in any particular order. That means I don’t have to worry too much about continuity, but if you read all the books you get a much better picture of who the characters are. And that’s one of the biggest differences between writing a series and writing a stand-alone book – the characters. I’ve had so much pleasure writing about Pete, Nancy, and Krish for a second time, and it’s been fun throwing them into different creepy situations. We might even see them again sometime soon …

6. You have written books for adults and children. Which do you prefer?

I like writing both, but writing for young readers often feels more fun. It also feels more special because young readers express so much wonder and excitement for stories – something that often inspires me.

7. What would you do if you weren’t an author?

What I’d really like to be is Han Solo. He is, after all, the coolest smuggler in the galaxy. Failing that, I’d like to be Bear Grylls -but I’m not brave enough- or a rock star -but I have no musical talent. Maybe I should stick to being an author.

8. If you had to be in one of your stories which one would you be in?

That’s a tricky one. All of my stories are so dangerous. Below Zero would be far too cold. I’d probably be the first to get infected in Crooked Oak, or fall victim to The Beast of Harwood Forest. Maybe I’d be better off in Boy X, trying to survive on the jungle island of Isla Negra … at least it would be sunny!

9. Did you have a favourite book as a child?

I loved Tintin books when I was younger (and still do), but I think my favourite book was ‘The Runaways’ by Victor Canning. Don’t worry, no one else seems to have heard of it either. It was the first book in a trilogy about a boy called Smiler.

10. And finally, which characters from science fiction would you like to go on a socially distanced picnic with? Is there anyone you would definitely not want to be there?

I reckon the kids from Stranger Things would be fun at a picnic. Or the gang from Guardians of The Galaxy. I definitely wouldn’t invite Darth Vader because he’d just spend the whole time being grumpy. And the alien from Alien can stay at home, too.

Huge thanks to Year 5 for coming up with such amazing questions, Barrington Stoke for arranging for Dan to join us in our classroom, and to Dan for such an fun and engaging afternoon.

With comments like, “It’s just amazing being able to chat with an actual author,” “I’ll remember this afternoon forever,”  “He was very funny and gave us great answers,” and “It’s made me want to be an author too!” it was a truly inspirational afternoon!

Performance Poetry

Year 2 have been working on performance poetry in their English lessons this week. They loved having the opportunity to show their work to the children in Year 1. The children used loud, clear voices, actions and sometimes even dance to make their performances exciting! Well done, Year 2!

Cannon Park Virtual Book Fair

Cannon Park Primary School is pleased to announce that our new Scholastic Book Club is up and running!

Go to to browse the latest books and order online.

It’s quick and easy to browse and shop in the online fantastic selection. Simply select the tabs to see each selection for different age groups – add books to your basket and check out securely online. Many of the books can be purchased at a cheaper price than the recommended retail price.

For every £1 you spend on this month’s Book Club, our school will earn 20p in Scholastic Rewards. This will enable the school to buy new books, which will go directly into our class libraries.

Please place your order online by June 25th, 2021. All ordered books will be delivered to school after this date and distributed to the relevant children.

The Children’s Bookshows

To celebrate World Book Day, this week children have had the opportunity to watch author-illustratotrs and poets at work, and put questions to them to be answered.

All of Key Stage 2 were able to see Michael Rosen (or Raisin as we now know him) on Wednesday morning, who entertained us with some of his best loved performance poetry, showing how much fun it is to play with language, rhythmn and rhyme.

On Wednesday afternoon, Upper Key Stage 2 were inspired by Kwame Alexander, an award-winning poet, who read us his very moving book, The Undefeated. His advice to improve your writing? “Read, read and then read.”

Here’s a few of the children’s thoughts from Year 5 on Michael and Kwame…

I thought that the authors were very inspirational and wrote some very good poems and stories; they were remarkable!

I think that they were really funny and they made me want to write more poems.

I liked the sessions, and I really want to have more. They inspired me!

On Friday morning, children from Years 2 -4 were able to see award-winning author-illustrator and environmemtalist, Neal Layton. He wowed us with a live illustration  reading us Stanley’s Stick He then talked to us about trees and how important they are to us, and we saw his sketch books that he used to create The Tree which only has 40 words!

On Friday afternoon, children from Key Stage got to see author illustrator Jo Empson, take part in a live draw along, and see her read her brand new story – it isn’t publishing until January next year! How lucky we are!

This is what the children thought, and created from Friday’s events.

Neal is very good at drawing and I like that he likes nature.

We enjoyed Jo Emspon. We both tried to draw the lion.


If you missed an author for your year group, don’t worry, you can watch again using the links below.

Jo Empson for Years 1 and 2:

Neal Layton for Years 2, 3 and 4:

Michael Rosen for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6:

Kwame Alexander for Years 5 and 6:

Report Writing

Year 2 have been busy writing non-chronological reports on pirates. They published their writing on large pieces of paper after looking at other examples of reports. Well done, Year 2!

Wonderful Writing

The children in Year 1 have been busy developing their writing skills. They are working hard to use verbs, adjectives and even adverbs in their sentences. Amazing!