Pinning your interests – why Pinterest is my new educational obsession

I like finding things in the Internet but in the past I often emailed myself a link to it or printed the page out now I simply add it to my space on Pinterest.

My boards within Pinterest are organised and make rediscovering my online educational gems much easier.


I have boards for curriculum areas, whole curriculum skills, professional development etc.

It ultimately saves time and jogs my memory when looking for those great ideas once more.

So feel free repin anything that might interest you!

Noisy Literacy – Providing an environment that encourages talk

As teachers we have a responsibility to provide children with rich opportunities to talk.

Tizard and Hughes (1984) state that by the age of 3 or 4 dialogue is as important as physical exploration.

So how do we cultivate the best classroom conditions for talk in the early years?

Make the classroom environment relaxed and home like.

Have small enclosed areas sectioned off in the classroom for different types of playful engagement.

Drapes and soft furnishings to absorb background sounds.

Remove background sounds during play e.g cd players and bells

Have long periods for play

Give opportunities for collaborative learning in small groups.

Value pupils sharing of stories or news

Make use of real experiences like trips and outings

Noisy Literacy – Using digital content to get children reading

Savvy Reading Skills – for not so confident readers

My eldest child found the early years of school difficult. He was far from being a confident reader despite my best efforts at home. This was mainly to with a medical issue which was destroying his confidence.

As a mummy I was naturally concerned as a teacher I was pretty horrified that more wasn’t being done in school to support his reading skills. So I went back to the drawing board and tried to find ways to inspire him to read.

Reading is part of everyday life in so many ways, especially when we keep in mind that so much of what we do is focused on digital content – which involves extensive reading.

Noticing my child’s love of gaming we decided to change our approach. We moved away from paper based story books and started to use ebooks and digital content to get him motivated.

Some tips for using the Internet as a reading tool for less confident readers.

1. Get your children using search engines to find out information and then encourage them to share their findings with you. Be warned Some content may not be of a good quality. Teach your children to be selective in what they read. Many research style home learning tasks are often result in cut and copy type exercises. As a teacher it saddens me to see this. Children need support to help develop these evaluative skills, teachers and parents need to nurture these.

2. Choose books that can be downloaded with audio onto a digital device. This will assist with word recognition and encourage them to read with expression.

3. Get them to create their own audio using Audioboo. Children who don’t like reading aloud can grow in confidence with practice.

4. Find suitable articles or reviews about games, sport or whatever they are interested in for them to read or for you to read to them.

5. Download the overdrive app to have access to the ebook library and let them pick their ebooks. In school teachers teaching guided reading are working through a scheme and don’t then to veer off it.

There are plenty of ebooks and audiobooks to borrow for your device, the best bit is the are free but you do need a regular library card to sign in.

Noisy Literacy – Learning to read

“Babies are born with the instinct to speak, the way spiders are born with the instinct to spin webs. You don’t need to train babies to speak; they just do. But reading is different.”

— Steven Pinker

As a mummy who teaches here are some of my tips to assist you when your child is learning to read. I am not an expert but here are a few things that have worked for me.

Top Tips

1. Read to your toddlers early and often. Songs and nursery rhymes are a great way to attract children’s interest. Make it fun and get children involved in the plot and characters. Role play can be a great way to get them involved. Twinkl have some brilliant resources to support this type of activity.

2. Introduce children to a range of books e.g. cloth books, colourful books, pop-up books, picture books and other kinds where they can explore the story through a variety of media (audiobooks or iBooks or apps)

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

3. Model reading for your children. Let them see you read on a regular basis. Discuss the books you read. If you read newspapers or magazines share suitable content with them.

4. Build reading into the bedtime routine. This habit will last for a lifetime if you invest in it during the early years.

5. Make reading part of play time e.g. build a reading den, use torches to read in the dark or write signs for the pretend shop/ restaurant/vets etc.

6. Go to the library, make getting a book a family trip out. It’s free and often libraries have excellent free activities on. My local library has a rhyme time and a bedtime reading session once a month.

7. Create a reading book. Make them a book about themselves. Use pictures of your child accompanied with simple sentences describing what they are doing e.g Robert is playing with his teddy. The book creator app makes this easy to do and children adore reading about themselves or people they know. My older children still enjoy looking at these special books.

8. Use their drawings as a stimulus. Get the child to tell you what they have drawn, write it down and attach the words to the drawing. Then read it together.

9. Draw their attention to print in the environment e.g. Put an alphabet in their bedroom and make an effort to sound out the letter sounds as well as teaching them the letter names. Teach them to recognise the letters in their name. Point out shop names and other signs.

10. As children move into primary school, encourage them write their own short stories, mark making is all art of the learning process.

My biggest and most important tip make it pressure-free and fun!! If you immerse children in the world of print early, they will enjoy the power and pleasure of the written word for a long time to come.

See my other posts in the Noisy Literacy section in my archive.

World Poetry Day – A Poetry App for all ages

If you do one thing with your child today…read them a poem! It is World Poetry Day after all.

I love poetry and I love the if app. A little pricy but well worth £2.99 in my opinion and 10% of the sales of the iF Poems App goes to help the work of Save the Children.

You can search for poems in 12 categories, including Tell Me A Tale, Humour & Nonsense, When You Need Help, and Bedtime. Or you could search by the age groups 0-6, 7-12 and 13+.


If you are aren’t confident with poetic reading, get this app. It has pre recorded poems that are read by highly acclaimed actors such as Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Nighy, Tom Hiddleston and Harry Enfield. It is a real bonus to hear the expression and tone of the actors. Super modelling for children (and adults!)

If you are confident you can record yourself or your children saying the poems. You could given email the recording to parents or grandparents. See Noisy Literacy for further talking and listening ideas.

The treasury of poems can also be used as a basis for language and writing lessons.