Books and Bikes: Linking Sport and Literacy at Woodburn Primary School

At Woodburn Primary School in Midlothian, Primary 6 pupils have been taking part in a brilliant project inspired by Chris Hoy and Joanna Nadin's Authors Live. Here, Miss Little, P6 class teacher, shares the brilliant activities which she ran in her classroom linking sport, literacy and practical skills. 

Primary 6L at Woodburn Primary School have had a fantastic opportunity to develop their literacy through a project based around Chris Hoy and Joanna Nadin’s debut novel, Flying Fergus: The Best Birthday Bike.

Chris Hoy Authors Live

In the lead-up to watching the Authors Live event with Chris Hoy and Joanna Nadin we read the book together in class and thought of juicy questions to tweet to Scottish Book Trust to ask Chris and Joanna during the broadcast.

Watching Authors Live was a great opportunity to hear about why Chris Hoy became an author, hear about the writing partnership between Chris and Joanna, and to inspire us with Chris’s cycling career.

Improve It vs Bin It

Flying Fergus is a novel based around bikes. The main character, Fergus, dreams about a top-of-the-range bike. So on his birthday when he opens a bike-shaped parcel he is disappointed to find a bike that is in desperate need of repair, a far cry from his dream. This led to a class discussion about what we might do with a bike that needs repaired. Would you fix it or throw it away? Some interesting points were raised, ranging from ‘What if you don’t have time to fix it?’ to ‘You can’t just bin something because it is old, like my Granny!’

 ‘You can’t just bin something because it is old, like my Granny!’

This discussion was prompted by a CPD event which I attended, led by teacher and educational researcher James Nottingham. I used James’s model of a ‘Learning Pit’, where children need to have dilemmas to discuss and solve together, as the basis for our class discussion about what we would do if, like Fergus, we were given a broken bike.

Bike Craft Workshops

The class decided that the best thing to do would be to learn to repair bike parts so that they could fix their own bikes in the future. Thanks to funding from Scottish Book Trust, the class took part in workshops with Bike Craft Edinburgh to learn about fixing parts of a bike. The pupils all had the chance to take part in hands-on workshops with mechanics from Bike Craft and within the course of an hour had learnt how to replace an inner tube, fix a puncture and check their brakes without any assistance. This was a fantastic experience for all of the children and we got very excited as one of our school tweets sparked a response from Sir Chris Hoy himself! 

Links to Writing

Whilst we were reading Flying Fergus we began to look at instructional writing. We considered what is needed in a set of instructions and thought about where we might find instructions and in what formats.  

YouTube Clips

In groups of 4-6 the children then created a set of instructions to fix a part of a bike to share with other pupils throughout the school, using the new skills they had learnt from Bike Craft. Lots of our pupils cycle to school and this was a brilliant opportunity to encourage more pupils to do so and to look after their bikes! Pupils had the choice of format to create a set of instructions but all of the groups opted to create a film clip of their instructions. Over the next few weeks the groups planned and filmed their instructional video clips. They used a range of visual aids and some used PowerPoint. Once the clips were completed each group’s video was peer assessed by the other groups.

A big thank you to Scottish Book Trust for this opportunity to help develop learning and teaching of literacy in my classroom. The class certainly benefitted from the opportunity to link practical skills and literacy. 

You can watch Chris Hoy and Joanna Nadin's Authors Live on demand here and download brilliant learning resources with lots of creative ideas to bring sport and literacy together and engage bookworms and sports fans alike.


Check out the gallery below for pictures from Bike Craft's visit to Woodburn Primary School!


Judith Little

Judith Little is a P6 teacher at Woodburn Primary School in Midlothian