A little about me and reviewing books.
My name is Imogen and I am a primary school teacher based in Oxford. I am currently studying for my Masters in Education at Oxford Brookes University and am enjoying researching how characters with SEND are portrayed in recently-published picturebooks. From September 2021, I will be teaching Year 6 and am my school's Reading for Pleasure Lead as well as the Learning To Learn Lead.
I am also one of the Regional Reps for the UKLA (South region; based in Oxford). The UKLA do invaluable research into children and young people's reading and writing in the UK and from their findings, create resources that can be used by teachers to enrich their lessons. I enjoy promoting the great work the UKLA are doing for Literacy and am interested to hear what reading and writing materials and support teachers in the South would find helpful.
I have begun writing this blog as I am passionate about both reading, and teaching children Values through books and stories. Since beginning my teaching career in March 2012, I have gathered a wealth of picture books and novels that have discreetly and explicitly engaged children in discussions of values and the powerful messages that stories can hold. In the last few years of teaching, I have led many assemblies (Early Years – Year 6) and have used these as opportunities to share my passion for reading and values with the children. Colleagues have often asked me to borrow books to share again with their classes during topic lessons, PSHCE or class assemblies. I have begun to informally advise staff on books to share for exploring values in class. As a result, this blog was born.
My reviews will always focus on the teaching of Values through the text or story, as this is the purpose of the blog. I will also include a short summary with at least one photo of the book and a link to where readers can purchase it. My review of the book will be honest, but will try to capture the positive messages that children can learn from reading/exploring it.
The intended audience for this blog are families and school staff who would like to explore Values (such as love, kindness, compassion, trust, pride, responsibility etc) through stories and non-fiction texts. These can be explored through group work, guided reading, whole class reading, assemblies, and bedtime stories. Many schools have their own list of Values that they focus on and therefore I try and represent a range of Values, but they are not exhaustive. There may be cross-over too between Values. For example, empathy and compassion have similar roots and can often be explored through the same texts. The reviews are written with a view to be short and informative for families and school staff looking for inspiration for their Values based learning.
The link will be posted on my Twitter account (@ImogenM16) and on my Instagram page (@thevaluesbookshelf).
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope it inspires you and the children you read with.