Books with current issues, Environmental books, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha

I love bees and this book is a wonderful resource to teach adults and children about the history, science and importance of bees in our lives.


The book of bees by Piotr Socha is a  book can be read word for word or can be enjoyed by just perusing through the pictures and short stories.

Bees are such an important part of human activity and I don’t think people really understand the importance of bees in our everyday lives.

Exposing children to these books allow for us to have conversations about important issues and how we can make small differences in our lives to ensure that creatures such as bees are cared for.

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha outlines the history of human interaction with bees, the important role honey has played in our lives and the different types of bees and hives there are in the world.

The science behind hives is explored along with the make up of the colony.

The illustrations add detail and humour to the facts and the end papers are beautiful!

If you ever see this book – grab a copy and share it with a small person in your life, not only will they learn more about these tiny insects that many of us are scared of but they will also realise how life as we know it will not survive if we continue to use pesticides, deplete green spaces and introduce pests.

So how do you encourage your child to appreciate bees?

– Walk outside and look at flowers – are there any insects inside the flowers? Keep an insect diary.

– Look at the bee diagram and draw your own bees, differentiating between the queen, drone and workers.

– Open your cupboard and fridge and write down what wouldn’t be in the fridge if bees didn’t exist.

– Draw up a timeline of human bee interaction.

– Make your own bee hive or beneficial insect home and place it in your backyard, balcony or local park. Keep an eye on it for visiting bugs!

– Check where your honey is from – make sure it is locally made. Local means less pesticides.

Buy your own native bee hive – we have one and we love it. 

Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Have a home reader? Read this:

We have just started bringing home ‘home readers’ and even as a teacher I have found it difficult to really understand the role these books play in my child’s education.


I understand that it is great to expose children to books and texts they can possibly decode BUT I am starting to see it causing more worry in my child than joy.

We have been told to read the story first to our child – but I do not see the point as she can quickly memorise the words and then is she actually reading? Or just copying what I said?

These home readers are the only books we have access to for early reading and although there is are some great new readers out there, we do not have access to them.

If your child does not feel rewarded in an increased ability to read there can be feelings of anxiety developed towards reading.  Your child needs to feel confidence and enjoyment from the start. If you can, do these extra activities at home and tell your child it isn’t about the child who reads the most books but rather the child who can sound all the words out and know what it means. 

So what are we doing?

  • I ask my child to tell me the initial sound of each word. We break down the word into sound chunks and syllables before I tell her the whole word.


  • We talk about the letter name and the sound it makes (remember not all children have been exposed to all sounds in Term 1)


  • If there are any words which can rhyme easily I write them down and after we have finished the book we think about other words that rhyme and spell the same as the one in the story.


  •  Try to keep the book for two nights (if possible – I know my child is not keen to do this as she wants to read them all!). If you keep it for two nights you can try the sounds again.


  • Make up a new story with simple words in it. Make it repetitive but not as simple as the home reader. E.g. Is Bob in a mop? Is Bob in  pot? Is Bob in a hat? Is Bob in a kit? There is a company called Little Learners Love Literacy: That create books like this. You might be able to talk to your school about using these books?


  • Have fun with the home readers -even if it is only for ten minutes each night. Make the experience worth while. A child who can just parrot the home readers isn’t really getting the full benefit of what home readers are set out to be.
Books with current issues, Environmental books, picture books

Millie Loves Ants by Jackie French and Sue deGennaro

Is there any where in the world that functions like an ant colony?


My friend Millie just loves ants.

Mille Loves Ants by Jackie French and Sue deGennaro is a sweet story about a little girl who is intrigued by a delightful echidna and those little insects who creep in and out of our houses on a daily basis.

This is my pre release copy:


Millie is a spiky bush friend who adores ants and tracks them wherever they go – even if that means going under the bath, into the kitchen, in hollow trees and on the bed!

In Mille loves ants, We see the power of children and their desire to explore their world and expand their knowledge. We also see the ability of children to be able to sit and watch, living side by side with native animals and insects, knowing that without them and the things they do, we would not exist in the way we currently do.

Sue deGennaro’s illustrations have been drawn in soft pastel shades and add to the warm and fuzzy feeling the reader will feel whilst they are reading this story.

The underlying messages of this story are beautiful – a mother echidna caring for her puggle and the importance of ants to our living environment. Both messages are ones which all children need to read about in order to deepen their appreciation of the natural world.

So what can you do with this book? 



  •  Go on an ant hunt! Where do they ants live around your house and outside area? Watch where they go, what they are carrying and where they live.
  •  Where do Echidna’s live in Australia?
  • Although not all breeds of Echidna’s are endangered, some are and although they are a protected species, their habitat is not. Find out about breeding programs and conservation for echidna’s.
  • How do ants make the soil healthy?
  • What are the different roles of ants – soldier ants, queen ants , drones and worker ants? Draw up your own ant colony with labels.
  • PROJECT: Are ants the smartest insects? Compare different insects and try to come up with the winner!
  • PROJECT: What are your local ants favourite food? Do different ants like different types of food?
  • Check this out:


  • Rhyme plays a role in this story. Which words rhyme in this story? What else rhymes with ants?


  • Calculate how many ants might be in your backyard by working out how may are in 10cm2 and multiply it!


Parent tips, poetry

Why do we need poetry?

This week, on Tuesday 21st March, the world celebrated World Poetry Day!

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Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. (UNESCO, 2017)

So why do we need poetry?

  1. Poetry teaches rhythm, rhyme, beat and space. Many poems rhyme or have some sort of beat to them. By reading poetry to each other we incidentally learn how to speak to a beat with feeling.
  2. Poems are written to be read out loud. When we read out loud we learn to pronounce words with more feeling. When we listen to poetry being read out loud we can feel the words and the feelings that the poet has put into the prose.
  3. Poetry can bring about many different feelings in a short amount of reading or listening time. Poems can make us laugh, cry, move about, remember, cringe and even feel scared!
  4. Poetry is another form of literature that can allow reluctant readers or slower readers to feel a sense of achievement and enjoyment.
  5. Poetry incites creativity in many different forms. Many children struggle in the creative realm but through reading poems we are able to escape into a creative landscape and be inspired to create our own.

We all have  access to so many wonderful poetry books  some are picture books, pure anthologies, disgusting poems, laugh out loud poems and the classics. See what you can find and share it with someone!


Sounds to help reading

Learning the alphabet and the sounds associated with each letter is the first place parents and teachers should be looking at when helping their child to learn how to read.


My previous post on sight words was read by many which made me think how much importance parents do place on the skill of reading. As parents we play a very important role and can help your child learn, just as much as your child’s teacher does.

Most schools will be introducing at least 2 new letters per week and the different sounds associated with that letter but parents can play an important role in reinforcing those sounds through short, fun activities.

  • Link in with the sight words – Group your sight words according to initial sounds. This will word best with decodable sight words.


  • Ask your child to find the same letter on a page in a book. Point to it and parent can read the word out loud.


  • Parent points to a letter in a book and asks child to make the sound of that letter.


  • Ask your child to look around the room and find words that start with a sound. Discuss if the sound might start with a different letter.
  • Make different letters with letters, sticks, leaves etc . It is a great way to make sure they are forming the letter in the correct way.
  • Find an old book and allow your child to circle around a particular letter. Read each of those words out loud and discuss if the sound changes. It is important to let your child know if some letters make different sounds so they have those tools ready for future use.

Most of all, have fun with learning letters and sounds.

And keep reading for pleasure every day!








Books with current issues, Creativity, Parent tips, picture books

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox and Ronojoy Ghosh

Australia Fair is ours to share, where broken hearts can mend. 


 I’m Australian Too
I'm Australian Too

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox and Ronojoy Ghosh is a marvellous picture book which highlights the amazing multicultural country Australia is.

Throughout the story we hear about families from Ireland, Italy, China and Syria. We meet the ancestors of  the first people of Australia and also the refugees who are still waiting to be a part of Australia.

Mem Fox celebrates the diversity of Australia and the friendliness of the community through children’s eyes. Rhyme is used along with the thought provoking repetitive question:

How about you? 

Ronojoy Ghosh’s illustrations tell us more about each child, how they live and the different dynamics of the family unit.

As we read this story as a class the children were bubbling with excitement about the fact that they had a story to tell about where their parents came from. As I read it to my own two children we were able to talk about the different people who live here and perhaps who had a story similiar to ours.

We all have a story to tell and all stories should be told. By reading this book to your own child or a whole group of children, all voices can be heard and appreciated!

Links for your child, your students and you. 

Families – Find or draw a family picture and underneath write about where you all come from. Children always love to know where their parents and grandparents came from and perhaps even before that! Create your own rhyming paragraph just like in the story.

Geography – Using a world map, find out where the children are from in this story. How far have they or their parents travelled? Why did they all move here?
Thinking – Who is an Australian? What makes you belong to a country? Is there a checklist? Is there a feeling you must have? Explore what makes us belong to a country – how do we feel we belong and how do others decide if we belong? How does this feeling of who belongs create problems in the world
Punctuation – what sort of word is I’m? Look for other contractions within the story and discuss why we use them and what they ‘stretch’ out to become.

What is a question mark? How many are used within this story? Create your own questions about this book to share with each other. Make your own question marks out of different materials (such as a long piece of grass!)  IMG_4637


Growing globally conscious children


Lucy’s Book by Natalie Jane Prior and Cheryl Orsini

Libraries are full of adventurers, scouting out the prized treasure and seeking new pathways to undiscovered lands and long lost times times – don’t you think?

I’ve always loved libraries – the quiet space, the smell of the books and the opportunity to read and discover many new things.

I can still remember my primary school library and the local library so they must have been pretty special places.

Lucy’s Book by Natalie Jane Prior and Cheryl Orsini is a wonderful adventure about borrowing books, sharing stories and running away with imagination.

Lucy loves reading and has finally found the perfect book. She reads it over and over and shares it with anyone who has the time. When the book is returned we meet many new readers who devour the book just as much as Lucy has until one day when her book is no longer around.

Lucy’s Book highlights the love of literature that many young children have and through finding the right type of books for each other we can deepen a love of reading.


  • Why did Lucy love this book so much? Why did her friends love it so much? Explore the text and illustrations to find more answers.
  • Why did the librarian get read of Lucy’s favourite book?
  • What might have happened to Lucy if she did not find her book?
  • How might the book feel about the adventures it has?


– What is your favorite book? Draw or write about the book you love the best.


– Re write the story from the Book’s perspective. How did the book feel as it was read by different children and taken to different places?


  • How can book’s be kept in circulation for longer? Design a way in which books can be physically borrowed without being harmed. Or consider how books can remain in circulation (and not be forgotten on the bottom shelf) .

International Read to me day

This Sunday the 19th of March is International Read to me day.


Why read?

images-2 We need to read to ignite curiosity.

images-2We need to read so we can achieve our hopes and dreams.

images-2Reading blossoms ideas and imagination.

images-2Being read to helps others to understand the concepts of letters and sounds and how they link together.

images-2Being read to helps us to become better talkers and better listeners.

images-2Being read to helps us to sit still, be patient and take some time out.

images-2We need to read to be employed in most sectors.

images-2Those who are read to more often are more likely to understand the concept of reading earlier.

images-2Learning to love books comes from a young age. Parents need to install a love of a variety of books so there is less chance of becoming a reluctant reader. 

What should I read to my child?

imagesThere are so many wonderful books out there – check out my blog and see if you can access any.

images Find out what your child loves and find books that link in with their interests.





Parent tips, recipes

Reading snacks: Chocolate and popcorn? Who knew?


We all read reading snacks and if the snacks are healthy then we can eat more and read for longer…right?

Here is a wonderful recipe that is homemade, nut free and mostly Australian grown. They are also packaging free which is not only great for the environment but great for you as it means one less trip to the bin!

1 1/2 cups of cooked popcorn.

1 cup of coconut – desiccated works better but shredded is fine.

1 cup of melted coconut oil.

1/4 cup of cacao powder.

1 cup of sultanas

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup of pepitas.


  1. Whizz up the sultanas – they are tricky to whiz so at least make them as mushy as possible!
  2. Whizz up the sunflower seeds and pepitas.
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together then add the coconut oil.
  4. Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours before eating.

 (excuse my poor food photography!)