Nicole reads from ‘The Snow Spider’.

Today it was Nicole’s turn to prepare

a page of reading from ‘The Snow Spider’.

As you will hear Nicole read very well.

In what she read to us,

we learned a little more about a mystery;

How Gywn’s older sister Bethan had disappeared

in the middle of a storm one night.

Visualizing the main characters in Jenny Nimmo’s ‘The Snow Spider’.

Jenny Nimmo’s ‘The Dog Star’ – A Big Hit with 2nd Class Room 6

From ‘The Daily Reader’ newspaper:

“It was confirmed today that of all the Jenny Nimmo books that 2nd Class Room 6 have read that ‘The Dog Star’ is their very favourite. A poll was held in class and these were the results. ‘The Owl Tree’ and ‘Tom and the Pterosaur’ both got one vote each. ‘The Stone Mouse’ received six. But ‘The Dog Star’ was the runaway success with twenty two votes.

Some people felt that perhaps the last book read by the class is always going to do best because it is more recent and clearer in their minds, but supporters of ‘The Dog Star’ said, that though they enjoyed all the Jenny Nimmo books we have read so far, ‘The Dog Star’ was simply the best.

Later in the year, 2nd Class Room 6 are going to read ‘The Snow Spider’ by Jenny Nimmo. This is a challenging read and it will be interesting to see, if ‘The Dog Star’ will be knocked off top position”.


So why was ‘The Dog Star’ so popular?


We agreed that it was about something

a lot of children dream about:

a dog of their own.


But the story is not that straight forward.

There are a lot of difficulties

in the story for Marty

who is the main character.


Her older sister Clare puts her in a very difficult

situation and she doesn’t know whether to

make her sister happy by being mean to

Miss Theresa Tree or make her Dad happy

by being friendly to her.


We found the story



and magical.

We prefer serious books.

For example we preferred the serious

‘Owl Tree’ by Jenny Nimmo

to the ‘Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

by Jill Tomlinson, even though it made us laugh.


We ‘made the connection’ between the eight and a half years,

that it takes the light from the Dog Star to reach earth,

and the fact that Marty is eight and a half years old

and that Marty’s Mum went home to God

eight and a half years ago.


Having already read ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

we knew about Orion and his belt,

and what the Dog Star was, didn’t need to be explained to us.


Even at the end of the book,

we were left wondering about

‘The Dog Star’.


What was it really?

Where did it come from?


We would give this book ten out of ten

and would recommend it to children

between the ages seven and nine.


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Making Connections: Jill Tomlinson’s ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark’ and ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’.

We read ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark’

and ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’.

Both of these books are written by

the great children’s author

Jill Tomlinson.


We talked about how these stories,

making connections

between the two stories.

We asked ourselves:

How are these books the same

and how they are different?


Julia is going to begin

by introducing both books

and talking about

how they are the same.

This is how the stories are the same:

The main characters

are both young animals

that live with their parent(s).


The Owl lives with his Mum and Dad

and the Aardvark lives with his Mum.

They are loved and well minded

by the grown ups in their lives.


They are both nocturnal.

They both have to look out for ‘danger’.

They are both very inquisitive

especially about food.


Both stories follow a pattern.

The same kind of thing happens

in every chapter


and over again.


They meet another character

and talk to them,

asking them questions

and finding things out.


But this is not tedious

because each of these 

characters are different

and interesting.


Also there are differences

in the pattern each time.

Different things get said.

Funny things get said.

Avatar Kila will tell you a little about

how the stories are different

The stories are different because

one story is about an aardvark

and the other is an owl.


The owl is a carnivore and the

aardvark is an insectivore.

The aardvark and his Mum

are nomads. The owl family

stay put.


Plop the Owl wants to be a day bird.

As the title of the book says,

he is afraid of the dark

and doesn’t want to go hunting

with his Mum or Dad.

This is the problem

that has to be solved

in his story


Pim the Aardvark is different

He is looking forward

to going hunting at night

with his Mum.


His ‘problem’ is that he is

a brand new, baby aardvark

and he doesn’t know anything.

He isn’t sure at all about

the life of an aardvark

or the world around him.


Luckily both stories are the same

in that they both have happy ending.


To finish:

In the chapter called ‘The Rotten Digger’

in the ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’,

Pim tries his hands

(or should that be his claws) at digging.

Here is a video of an aardvark digging 

from, a website of animal videos.

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This Year’s Reading Journey for 2nd Class, Room 6

Quote 1
Photo ‘Quote 1’ by LDietrich528 on Flickr.

I think it would be useful if I gave you, the parent an overview of our plans for reading during this school year.

What we do in class might seem arbitrary and piecemeal to start with, but there is a plan for reading in place for the class.

At the beginning of 2nd class…

Many children are independent readers.

By the end of 2nd, I would like that all children would be reading independently and that they would develop a stamina for reading.

I hope that they get exposure to

a range of reading materials;

fact, fiction, stories, novels and poetry

know what they like to read

and love reading.

As J.K Rowling wrote:

“It is our choices, Harry,

that show what we truly are,

far more than our abilities.”


This plan stretches from September through to the end of June next year.

To maximize its success it is important that your child comes to school each day.

It is also important that you, the parent read with your child each night.

I know you all lead very busy lives and sometimes this may seem like a chore,

but it can be the most relaxing and pleasant time of the day for you and your child.

Memories are made of times when parent and child read together.

This plan is not written in stone.

Of necessity the plan for reading is flexible.

Every class is different and it may be that some classes are quicker to get to a certain point and others are slower.

But it isn’t a race. We are going to enjoy the journey.

Though it is a class plan, the focus is on your child as an individual.

This is like learning to walk.

This year I would like them to be ‘steadier’ readers  i.e. more fluent

and to know what direction they would like to go

i.e. to know what are their preferences; know what they like to read.

Reading comprehension is also an important aspect of the work we will do this year.

The First Term

We will be ‘finding our feet’ at the beginning of the year.

During the first week the children will be bringing home books from the class library.

For the rest of the month they will be reading comprehension pieces from ‘A Way with Words’.

This reading will be in preparation for ‘follow up’ work in school.

I would suggest that you take a mental photograph of what this time is like;

the library books your child chooses to bring home

and your child’s level of fluency in reading these and the comprehension pieces.

Because later in the year your child will again be bringing ‘A Way with Words’ to read at home

and in the very last weeks of June,

your child will be bringing home class library books to read

and it will be heartening for you to see how they will have progressed.

Paired Reading

Then at the end of September, we will be doing six weeks of ‘paired reading’.

This will be for homework and I know most of you are familiar with ‘paired reading’ as the children have done this in previous years.

In school we will be working hard on the mechanics of reading e.g. the Dolch List,  Jolly Grammar and Tricky Words.

Class Novels

I will also begin reading class novels to the children.

I have chosen these novels carefully and I have found that my past pupils have enjoyed these books.

This year I am adding a further Jenny Nimmo book  ‘Tom and the Pterosaur’, which I am confident the children will like.

I also see great potential for developing comprehension skills using this and other novels.

From time to time during the year we will write Book Reviews.

We will also make comparisons between the books we have read: their similarities and differences

We will vote for our favourite book and our favourite author.

“You have to write the book that wants to be written.

And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups,

then you write it for children.”

– Madeleine L’Engle

The Formal Reading Scheme

After ‘paired reading’ we will be starting the formal reading scheme.

This phase doesn’t go on indefinitely as has been necessary in Senior Infants and First.

It is a ‘Reading Blitz’. I estimate that it should take us another six weeks or more of intense work.

Term Two

This will bring us into the 2nd term and to the end of January approximately.

I am looking forward to this phase as it is where great strides forward can be made.

It is at this stage that we do some reading with ‘Reading Buddies’ (other children from the class).

The children really enjoy this. They find it companionable and sociable to read with a classmate.

The ‘Real Books’ Box

Children will progress at different rates.  When the children have finished the formal reading scheme for 2nd class,

they will be reading from a box of books that I call ‘The ‘Real Books’ Box’.

These books and the notion of  reading ‘real books’ acts like a ‘carrot on a stick’ I find and is very motivating.

Class Novels

After working hard on the reading scheme we can capitalize on all our hard work and start reading the class novels that are available to us

e.g. Jill Tomlinson’s ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

and ‘The Owl Tree’ by Jenny Nimmo.

The Third Term

Class novels will occupy us for the rest of the year.

We are very fortunate. Because of the generosity of parents and the hard work of fund raisers we have a great variety of books to read.

You may be surprised that the class novels available to us as ‘multiple copies’ only contain two Roald Dahl books ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ and ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’.

There is a reason behind this. We are only ‘dipping our toes in the water’ as far as the books of Roald Dahl is concerned.

If your child is taken with one or two of Dahl’s books in school, he or she will be very motivated to read some more independently from the school or local library or from their own bookshelf at home.

The School Library

Work on reading class novels will be supplemented by the children’s own choice of reading from the school library.

I will be helping the children to choose ‘readable’ and appropriate books.

Once again the children have an extensive choice of books to read from the school library thanks to the generosity of parents and the ‘Library Ladies’ who give so generously of their time.

In Summary:
So in a nutshell, reading for homework will be as follows:
*Children’s own choice of reading from class library.
*Paired Reading
*Formal Reading Scheme to include ‘Reading Buddies’
*Class Novels
*Children’s own choice of reading from class library.
*Children will also be bringing home reading from the school library.

Teacher Reading
from the ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ Series by Dorothy Edwards
‘Care of Henry’ and ‘Stranger Danger’ by Anne Fine
‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’ by Jill Tomlinson
‘The Dog Star’ and ‘Tom and the Pterosaur’ by Jenny Nimmo
‘Please Mrs. Butler’ a compilation of school poems by Allan Alhberg
‘One Dark and Stormy Night’ Allan Alhberg
A selection of books from the school library to introduce the children to various authors and series.

Class Novels
A selection from the following:
‘Dog on a Broomstick’ by Jan Page
‘The Hodgeheg’ by Dick King Smith
‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark’ and ‘The Cat Who Wanted to Go Home’ by Jill Tomlinson
‘The Owl Tree,”The Stone Mouse’ and ‘The Snow Spider’ by Jenny Nimmo
‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ and ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ by Roald Dahl

You can see more information about this selection of books on Our Bookshelf  to the right 🙂

“You may have tangible wealth untold.

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be –

I had a parent who read to me.”

— adapted from Strickland Gillilan

The Stories of Jill Tomlinson: Similarities and Differences.

Books by Jill Tomlinson

The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark

The Cat Who Wanted To Go Home

The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure

The Otter Who Wanted To Know

Penguin’s Progress

How are these books the same?

They all have a main character, who is a young animal.

They are all asking questions

of their grown ups

and their friends

and they are all learning.

They all have adventures.

They have a beginning

a middle,

and an end

and they all have a happy ending. 

How are they different?

They are different because the main character is a different bird or mammal.

Some are nocturnal and some are diurnal.

Some of the questions they ask are the same,

but some are different.

They come from different habitats all over the world.

They have to watch out for different predators.

Their diet is different.