Top 10 books for primary practitioners

Jane Wood-Chambers

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Reading for pleasure is a skill best learnt young and one that will enhance your life and metal well-being at every stage of your existence. Never underestimate the power of the book; as a teacher it is your role to offer this knowledge to your students.


Before you can pass on the love of reading and recommend books to your students it is important to make sure that you read the books yourself first! I have compiled a list of my top 10 books for Key Stage 2 pupils to either read themselves at quiet reading time or as a class during the daily Storytime.

Storytime is an essential part of general classroom practice and is cross-curricular. Reading at the end of the day is ideal as it binds you together as a class and creates a magical time after a day of learning.

Reading is an opportunity to sit together and to listen to the dancing rhythm of words and allow the imagination and the mind’s eye to work and to wander.

A teacher reading to their class transports everyone to an unknown world. It enables pupils to hear the words carefully chosen and descriptive text come alive; it is soothing and pleasurable and meditative.

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Happy reading!

Summer books


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1.
Kensuke's Kingdom

By Michael Morpurgo

Washed up on an island in the Pacific, Michael struggles to survive on his own. With no food, and no water, he curls up to die. When he wakes, there is a plate beside him of fish, of fruit, and a bowl of fresh water. He is not alone...

Kensuke's Kingdom is a gripping adventure from the author of War Horse. Michael Morpurgo has written more than one hundred books for children and won the Whitbread Award, the Smarties Award, the Circle of Gold Award, the Children's Book Award and has been short-listed for the Carnegie Medal four times.

2. Wonder
By RJ Palacio

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things - eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside. But ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren't stared at wherever the go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
By John Boyne

Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country, All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. 

Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.

4. There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom
By Louis Sachar

Meet Bradely Chalkers. He's the oldest child in the class. He tells ENORMOUS lies. He picks fights with the girls. The teachers say he has 'serious behaviour problems'. And no one like him...except Carla, the new school counsellor. She thinks Bradley is sensitive and generous, and she even enjoys his far-fetched stories. Carla knows that Bradley could change, if only he weren't afraid to try. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is believing in yourself. 

A heart-warming story of isolation, bravery and acceptance from the bestselling author of Holes, Louis Sachar.

5. Stormbreaker (Alex Rider Series)
By Anthony Horowitz

In the first book in the number one bestselling Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, fourteen-year-old Alex is forcibly recruited into MI6. Armed with secret gadgets, he is sent to investigate Herod Sayle, a man who is offering state-of-the-art Stormbreaker computers to every school in the country. But the teenage spy soon finds himself in mortal danger.

6. The Bubble Boy

By Stewart Foster

The Bubble Boy is the story of how Joe spends his days, copes with his loneliness and frustrations, and looks - with superhero-style bravery, curiosity and hope - to a future without limits. Expect superheroes, super nurses and a few tears from this truly unique story.

7. Refugee Boy
By Benjamin Zephaniah

Life is not safe for Alem. His father is Ethiopian, his mother Eritrean. Their countries are at war, and Alem is welcome in neither place.

So Alex is excited to spend a holiday in London with his father - until he wakes up to find him gone. What seems like betrayal is in fact an act of love, but now Alex is alone in a strange country, and he must forge his own path.

Brilliantly written and with a real ear for dialogue, fans of Angie Thomas and Malorie Blackman will love Benjamin Zephaniah's novels for young adult readers.

8. The Twits
By Roald Dahl

Mr Twit is a foul and smelly man with bits of cornflake and sardine in his beard. Mrs Twit is a horrible old hag with a glass eye. 

Together they make the nastiest couple you could ever hope not to meet.

Down in their garden, the Twits keep Muggle-Wump the monkey and his family locked in a cage. But not for much longer, because the monkeys are planning to trick the terrible Twits, once and for all...

9. Pig Heart Boy
By Malorie Blackman

You're thirteen. All you want is a normal life. But most normal kids don't need heart transplants.

So there's this doctor. He says there's a chance for you. But he also says it's experimental, controversial and risky. And it's never been done before.

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, this is a powerful, thought-provoking story from the award-winning Malorie Blackman. 

10. The Selfish Giant
By Oscar Wilde

When the Selfish Giant builds a high wall round his lovely garden to keep the children out, the North Winds blows, the Frost comes and the Snow dances through the trees. The Giant wonders why Spring never comes to his cold, white garden. It takes a wonderful event and the heart of a young boy for him to realise the error of his ways. 

 

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About our Community Expert

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Jane Chambers-Wood
Editorial Advisory Board Lead

Over 27 years of educational experiences in a number of settings. Developed a clear vision and ethos for inclusion which puts the child at the centre and a clear understanding of how to support, engage and nurture the individual.

Ability to train all staff through effective and reflective continual professional development in behavioural management techniques that begin, establish and maintain change in all.

Jane is our education expert overseeing all content.

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