D.E.A.R. and Kids Making Books

Children can pick up on their teachers likes and dislikes. I always use a bit of Scratch thought out the day. It’s my thing, I am OK at it and I like being behind a PC for a bit. I also love books. So, for me, the below is a dream day.

Most schools have DEAR time, usually after little break. The pupils settle back into the schedule by taking out their books and reading for fifteen minuets.

As a sub, I always have DEAR time. Only my DEAR time is a bit different; I read too. 

As you may know by now, I love YA and kids books. I start DEAR time by showing them my book, (it’s usually a kids book or YA book),  discussing the author bio, book blurb, publisher, price and length. Then we read for fifteen minuets  

Children love reading the author bio and we have learnt that the more quirky and interesting the author bio; the more fun and interesting the book will be. I point out to the pupils that if one leads an interesting life then of course one will have an ocean of experience to draw form.

Story Writing
I always integrate. If we covered the Tuatha Dé Danann in History, for example, then for this book exercise I will ask them to write their own Tuatha Dé Danann story. They brain storm over the beginning  middle and end of their story. I ask some pupils to share their ideas to help others who may be stuck, We google images, discuss conflict, character and then they make a mind map. Finally they write the first draft in their copies.

Children hate and I repeat HATE writing a second draft. I ensure them that real author usually hate redrafting and editing too. They think that I am making them do this to waist their time. To solve this you can make a small scratch code* or get a few of them to read their story out loud. The reader will always stumble and get confused. So I ask, would redrafting help and they a.l.w.a.y.s. say yes!

Book Creation
I then blend then class into an art construction lesson. We fold an A4 sheet twice and boom you have a book. I remind them to design the book cover and to include their own author bio, blurb, publisher, ISBN and bar code. I make cardboard covers for their books, as they come to my desk for their work to be admired and highly praised – I staple the cover on. (Only use one colour of cardboard otherwise your class will descend into MacDonalds with orders and shouts of:’ I want, I want, I want, that’s not faaaaaiiirrr.’

My Pretties – easy book binding
  • DEAR take 15 minutes.
  • Discussing format, bio, blurb, publisher, illustrator takes 7 mins
  • Using A4 sheets to make the books takes 3 mins
  • Writing the first draft takes 10 mins
  • Editing takes 5 mins
  • Writing their story into the books takes 10 mins
  • Me making the covers and stapling them on takes 25 mins

But their enjoyment at being a published author will add hours of joy and happiness to their lives.

* I tell them about Scratch and the basics of coding in maths. Then as an intro to the writing process I integrate the math lesson of coding by creating code of a person asking them if they like books, telling them that they will be writing their story twice, and then I end it with a witches laugh and the person changing into a dragon then saying if there are any complaint then I will chase you will FIRE. Then the code changes and the person breaths fire and then chases them (the mouse-pointer) around the screen. This works! 

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