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Teachers: Literacy: Text

Last Updated: Friday May 27 2005 16:38 GMT

Make reading cool

English / KS 2&3 / En2 Reading
4g. Express preferences about literature and support views by reference to texts
4h. Respond imaginatively to literature, drawing on the whole text and other reading
8a. Study a range of modern fiction by significant children's authors


Jacqueline Wilson with one of her most popular books, The Illustrated Mum
Jacqueline Wilson has been named as the fourth Children's Laureate.

This means that she'll spend two years promoting children's books and reading by taking part in lots of events around the UK.

Students look at ways of encouraging more children to read and write a letter to Jacqueline Wilson.

Learning aims

By the end of this lesson, students should understand:

  • Ways of promoting reading
  • How to write a formal letter

Jacqueline Wilson

Read out this Newsround interview with Jacqueline Wilson to the class.

Ask students the following questions:
p> 1. What does Jacqueline Wilson see as the main role of a Children's Laureate? To make children feel that reading is cool and enjoyable and not boring.

2. Jacqueline Wilson says everybody has a particular type of book that speaks to them. Describe the type of book you love.

3. Describe Jacqueline Wilson's plans for an exhibition. An exhibition of about 50 different authors and illustrators in a museum, gallery, or library. It would include displays of their favourite childhood books, photos, books they read when they started writing, inspirational memorabilia and a chance for children to ask questions.

4. How do you think this exhibition will promote reading?

5. Jacqueline Wilson likes to write on the train. Where is your favourite place to write and why do you like it?

Main activity

You are a top author

Students imagine they are one of the authors or illustrators invited to Jacqueline Wilson's exhibition.

Jacqueline Wilson mentions several ideas:

  • Hold the exhibition in a museum, gallery, or library
  • Involve 50 different authors and illustrators
  • Display their favourite books and authors from their childhood
  • Display a photograph of them when they were young
  • Display memorabilia that inspired them to write
  • Give children an opportunity to ask authors and illustrators questions
Individually, students jot down notes to answer these questions:

1. Where would be an ideal place to hold an exhibition to encourage children to read?

2. Which other three top authors, apart from yourself, would you invite? Give a brief reason for each.

For the next three activities, imagine you are over 20-years-old.

3. List the titles and authors of the inspirational books you read when you were a child? Why did they inspire you?

4. Describe a picture you have of yourself as a child; one that will inspire children to read more.

5. Describe something you owned as a child which inspired you to write.

Letter to Jacqueline Wilson

Students use their notes to pen a formal acceptance letter to Jacqueline Wilson.

The letter should include:

  • An opening greeting (e.g. Dear Jacqueline Wilson,)
  • A thank you for her invitation to take part in the exhibition
  • Suggestions for the exhibition venue and reasons for your suggestions
  • Suggestions for other authors she could invite and reasons for your suggestions
  • A list of your favourite childhood books you will bring to the exhibition, giving reasons why you liked them
  • A photograph of yourself as a child, saying why you think it will inspire children to read more (students could bring one in from home, draw one or write a description)
  • A picture or description of something you owned as a child, saying why it inspired you to write (students could draw one)
  • A sentence saying you are looking forward to attending the exhibition
  • A closing phrase (e.g. With best wishes) and your signature
Extension activity

Children reading

Students look at these suggestions to get more kids reading. They were submitted to the Newsround website.

Students put a tick next to the comments they agree with, a cross next to the ones they disagree with and a question mark next to the ones they are not sure about.

They summarise the arguments and THEIR thoughts by completing these sentences

  • ... thinks... I agree with them because...
  • ... thinks... I disagree with them because...
  • I would encourage children to read by...
Students can also add their comments online.


Selected students read out their letters and the rest of the class give feedback.

Ask students: Imagine you were the Children's Laureate. What would you do to get more kids into reading?

Teachers' background

Jacqueline Wilson with Danielle Harmer who played Tracy Beaker in the TV series

Click on the links in the blue box for more teaching resources about reading.

For hundreds more news-based lesson plans, click on Teachers on the left-hand side.

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