Authors Live: Where Could it Lead?

Linda Murray, one of our Authors Live teacher ambassadors has been working with her colleague Aileen Fisher on developing activities around the Authors Live: Roald Dahl Day Celebration event and looking at what other programmes run by Scottish Book Trust they can get involved in. She tells us how taking part in Authors Live has led to the rest of the school engaging in other Scottish Book Trust opportunities too.

So what's happened since we watched Authors Live? Primary 2 have continued to think about Dahl and are reading George’s Marvellous Medicine together, using both the book and audio version. 

On top of this they are joining P3 in a mini-project for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.  We have been coming together to read the nominated books and are having great discussions about what makes a book ‘good’.  We have planned our voting method and will use the video clips online for one final listen to the stories before heading to the polls.  Aileen and I have really appreciated the time we have spent working on this together.  We have learned from each other as well as from the children. 

Staff in the school were interested to know what we had been up to, which gave us lots of opportunities to share this with colleagues and encourage more interest in the work of Scottish Book Trust.  We have mentioned the Watch on Demand facility and I pass on details to colleagues of upcoming events.  When The Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour with Philip Ardagh was announced I passed this on to another colleague who has managed to ‘book’ a session with him at another school for December.  She has chosen to use one of his novels as her class reader; not only introducing her P6 class to another author but also offering the children access to an author who might otherwise have been missed.  Many of her children were in my class last year and shared in the Authors Live: David Walliams.  They will be particularly responsive to the visit.

We all know the demands on our time in the classroom and I am well aware that the level of involvement in my class was possible largely through our choice of topic.  However, I do think we can take an Authors Live event and build on its legacy through judicious and selective planning.  We can take on board the fundamental aspects of author awareness and encourage our children to really appreciate good books.  Teachers and parents alike are involved in encouraging our children to read, accepting a responsibility to engender a love of reading; a desire to curl up with a good book.  We do this through modelling good practise, offering up a variety of different opportunities to explore text and generally creating situations to make reading exciting.  We may have packed away our topic box but the skills and enthusiasm are encouraged to continue and flourish.  We will be going back to use the Watch On Demand facility for Julia Donaldson and Francesca Simon as mini-topics over the course of the year. The children enjoy every minute of it…

And what did the children have to say?

“I used to not like reading but now I really like it!”

“We’re beating you Mrs Murray!  We’ve read more at home…but I won’t tell anyone: that would spoil it!”

On the Live Day:

“The BFG bit was the best EVER!”

“I liked the lady.  She used lots of different voices and expression”

“It didn’t matter that Roald Dahl wasn’t there – his books were!”  

“Is there any more?”

If you missed Linda's previous two blogs about her work as an Authors Live ambassador you can read them here:

Authors Live: Counting Down to Roald Dahl Day

Authors Live: More Than Just an Event

Linda Murray

Linda Murray is a teacher at St. Peter’s Primary School in Galashiels. Her fantastic work with the Roald Dahl Authors Live event was part of Scottish Book Trust’s Teacher Ambassador programme.