Whilst browsing Twitter this morning I came across a link to a new app for the iPad; The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore and decided to have a look. I have numerous apps on the iPad, some that are functional, some that are for fun but none of them are in any way near to the quality of Morris. This is the most beautiful, moving app I have ever seen , it made me laugh and I'm not ashamed to say, at the end of it I even shed a tear. It is the first app released by Moonbot Studios and at £2.99 is a real bargain. I can't wait to show it to .......well everyone really, it is that good. This app has justified my spending on the ipad all by itself, I defy anyone , child or adult to not be captivated and spellbound by it. I will eagerly await more apps from Moonbot but not sure they can top Morris!
Today I have been working with year 9 students in Bracknell who were composing poetry and illustrating it using Piclits.com. The quality of images on Piclits is excellent and I was very impressed by the imagination shown by the young people in the class, who found Piclits easy and fun to use. Such a good, simple resource that can be used in so many ways!
Now, I am not a political animal. Politics and politicians normally do not impinge on my life at all - yes I know that is a shameful admission but to quote Bob Dylan 'the times they are a changing'. This government seems to be contradicting themselves at every point, one moment saying literacy for all is one of their key goals, in the next breath taking away funding from organisations that promote reading and writing to young people. The latest ridiculous idea is that primary schools are to be given a set list of the books they must study - what a sensible idea that is ...not! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13320661 How can you decide on certain books that will appeal to all children, boys and girls from every area and cultural diversity and who is going to make this decision? Surely we should have faith in teachers and librarians to have the specialist and local knowledge to be able to choose books to study that will appeal to children in their school without dictating to them about their book choices - after all they know the kids in their school best. Children are not 'one size fits all' and they are all at different stages in their reading journey, will this be taken into account? I suspect not. Having set texts at secondary school has had the effect of turning lots of young people away from reading - even a great work of literature that would normally appeal to a certain age group becomes boring and tedious when one 'has' to read and indeed, dissect it endlessly. Yes we should be encouraging children to read widely, there are so very many fantastic books written for primary kids from brilliant authors that really understand how to enthrall kids but to generalise and say 'all seven year olds should read this book' is quite ludicrous and will not encourage students to explore authors and genres to find things that excite, amuse maybe even terrify them and 'turn them on' to reading as a pleasure for life . If the government want to encourage more primary school kids to learn to love books perhaps they should be looking to ensure that every school has a visit every week from a knowledgeable, enthusiastic, qualified librarian - this would have far more impact than dictating which books should be studied.