Posted on: Mar 11, 2022
Mental health and wellbeing go hand-in-hand and are not only central to promoting effective learning and future successful, independent living, they are ESSENTIAL for helping children and young people develop and thrive.
Focusing on improving a child’s mental health and wellbeing will help them to cope with key life events such as stress, trauma and physical ill-health. Not only are children with better mental wellbeing more likely to be engaged in lessons, better behaved and make more progress but they are also more likely to deal better with stressful events and recover more quickly from illness.
The single biggest way to support children academically and emotionally at home is to encourage them to read. The importance of fostering a positive relationship between home and school is highlighted by Ofsted in their ‘Schools and Parents’ report (2011) –
“Parental engagement can be a powerful lever for raising achievement in schools and there is much research to show the value of schools and parents working together to support pupils’ learning.”
This is a guide to help boost reading confidence by encouraging families to have fun sharing books at home, even after children start to read on their own.
Reading together in a fun and relaxed way not only helps children get hooked on reading, but it is also one of the best ways for families to bond, spend quality time together and make memories that will last a lifetime. Sharing books with children and talking about the story will also help to deepen understanding and develop language.
Posted on: Feb 14, 2022
Posters can brighten up any library space as they capture the attention and enable discussion, which in turn encourages students to visit. When used as part of a wider library or classroom display, posters have the power not only to promote specific books but to introduce students to new subjects and concepts, encouraging them to think deeply, investigate widely and broaden their horizons.
Posters are perfect for all your students but especially reluctant and struggling readers. They are visually engaging with clear and concise information so the material can be absorbed quickly, even at a glance. Whether it be a quote, a scientific principle or a profile of a popstar, posters can motivate and focus students in a way that other learning aids may not.
When 65% of people worldwide find visual learning more effective it is crucial to use images and graphics to impart information within schools. Posters are one of the best (and easiest) ways to effectively achieve this in a library and classroom environment.
This year, the Department for Education has brought in some changes that will impact the teaching of phonics in many schools, as well as the phonic books and resources that will be needed to support it. Our reading scheme specialists have put together some FAQs to help schools ensure their teaching programme is up-to-date with current Ofsted guidance and has the right reading books and resources in place.
The 2007 Letters and Sounds Framework set out to provide schools with a basis for teaching systematic synthetic phonics (SSP). Although this has never been statutory, over 50% of schools use this as the basis of their phonics teaching and it was included on the list of approved phonics programmes on gov.uk. However, it is not, and has never been a full programme setting out in detail how phonics will be taught on a week-by-week basis. It relied upon schools building their own programme of resources around the handbook and in many cases updating the progression to bring it in line with current best practice.
Although some schools have created their own teaching programme based on 2007 Letters and Sounds very successfully, this is not the case for all schools. Moreover, it is no longer sufficient to simply state to Ofsted that your school is following Letters and Sounds — you will need to show you are using a successful approach including a teaching programme, relevant resources, reading books and high-quality staff training that builds on this or another Systematic Synthetic Phonics teaching programme (SSP). Ofsted specify that the approach must be rigorous, systematic, used with fidelity (any resources used should exactly match the Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPC) progression of their chosen SSP approach), and achieve strong results for all pupils, including the most disadvantaged. There is emphasis on children being able to keep up rather than catch up so that children at risk of reading failure are given the o
Posted on: Jun 09, 2021
A study conducted by Renaissance Learning in 2020 showed that 63% of teachers expected that lockdown — and all the limitations that come with it — would increase the existing attainment gap for disadvantaged students. Perhaps more alarmingly, over a third of teachers indicated that they did not feel their school was prepared to measure, and subsequently act on, those attainment differences upon returning to the classroom.
Filling gaps will no doubt be an ongoing priority for teachers as we navigate a post-lockdown landscape, with key areas of learning taking priority in the mission to catch up. Few areas are more key than literacy, and we know it is going to be a race against time to try and accelerate some students back up to the level of their peers, to reinforce the key skills that will enable them to access the rest of the curriculum. To that end, we wanted to highlight some of our best ‘reading for pleasure’ resources to provide as clear a path as possible — particularly at the all-important transition period of UKS2 to LKS3 when children need to build confidence in their literacy skills as they move on to more challenging work.
As an experienced educational publisher that has specialised in high interest, low reading level books for nearly 20 years, we have amassed a large and varied back catalogue of engaging fiction and non-fiction to cover a wide range of interests, which we are passionate to make sure act as an ‘open door’ into reading. Our fiction is rightly made up of strands of voices from different walks of life, diverse backgrounds and ways of seeing the world, and we can provide digital resources or printed books, depending on your needs.
Below we have provided details and recommended audiences for some of our popular series, as well as some of the key features that make our books so accessible for struggling or reluctant readers.
As we enter a new year, we once again find ourselves taking on the role of home educators, many of us with only the experience of the previous lockdown to use as a reference point. We all want to do the best for our children. We want to look after their mental health while simultaneously providing the best possible education for them — all within in a climate for which we have never been trained. But we did it in the spring, and we can do it again. You’ll be feeling tired. Possibly daunted. We all are. But this blog is here to remind you of the tools that already exist within you and at your fingertips.
There are a huge number of digital resources out there, and once again, schools will be sharing links with families on what systems they are using to keep children learning their school subjects. While we can rely on the proficiency of our amazing teachers to signpost these resources and direct us in teaching opportunities, there is also a hugely important additional way we can support our children academically and emotionally — to encourage them to read.
The benefits of reading are well documented, in fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that they can be life-changing. Harnessed in the right way, reading can become a super-power, unleashing the following remarkable effects that are needed now more than ever:
- The power of calm: reading can significantly reduce stress levels, lowering our heart rates and reducing muscle tension — and who hasn’t had their fair share of that in 2020?
- The power of opportunity: reading has the power to impact results in school and future salary more than anything else we know of.
- The power of knowledge: reading increases our vocabulary and knowledge about the world, often without us even realising it.
- The power
Posted on: Sep 24, 2020
It’s fantastic to see children back in school after so long a break, and we know how hard staff have had to work to implement all the new (and changing) procedures to get to this stage.
Here at Badger Learning we have been working on updating our products to make sure we have what you need to ensure children are supported in their reading journey and with their wellbeing. We know that the pandemic has put a huge strain on some children’s mental health and wellbeing and as much as we hope that will all be eased now they are back at school, some will need additional resources. Primary teachers may want to take a look at our PSHE Through Stories Collection. For secondary schools, our Minding Your Mental Health and Supporting Your Mental Health collections address a number of mental health topics through fiction and non-fiction respectively, helping teenagers realise they are not alone and opening up conversations in a relatable way.
In these first few weeks back teachers will also have been assessing where children are at academically and looking at ways to address gaps in learning. Reading is crucial here and with the limited access to books over lockdown, a lot of children will have been reading significantly less than they would in more normal times. Supporting struggling and reluctant readers with appealing books, written by authors who specialise in accessible literature has always been a big part of what we do. Our books are all carefully assessed for Accelerated Reader™ Level, Catch-Up Level, reading age and interest age. This ensures you can place the right book in a pupil’s hand, one which will both appeal to their maturity as well as improving their fluency and comprehe
Posted on: Apr 08, 2020
As parents, we know reading is better for children than watching TV or playing online games, but are we all aware how much better and why schools place such an emphasis on getting kids reading?
With schools closed and normal life suspended for everyone we are all scrabbling around trying to think how best to support our children. Parents are taking on a new role as home educators, even though most of us have very limited experience in this and children and young people may additionally be scared, worried and frustrated.
There are a huge number of digital resources out there, and schools will be sharing links with families on what systems they are using to keep children learning their school subjects. However, there is also a hugely important additional way you can support children academically and emotionally and that is to encourage them to read.
Children who read for pleasure do better in school and in life than children who don’t. There are a number of academic studies showing this, and that’s why schools work so hard to push reading. This holds true, whatever the academic background of the parents and their income. Reading, and reading because you want to, not because it’s a set text, is a super-power, which has more impact on your results in school and salary after school than anything else we know of. Read the research here
Books are also soothing, studies show reading is good for mental health, lowering stress levels and anxiety more than many other activities. (read research on this here) Reading allows you to escape into other worlds, and as you have to build the pictures in your mind of what those worlds look like, smell like and taste like, they do it better than just watching a screen. Having less is somehow more
With the Covid-19 Pandemic impacting all aspects of our daily lives we would like to reassure our customers, suppliers, partners and employees, in the UK and around the world, that we are treating this with all seriousness; and we are monitoring the situation as it unfolds. We continue to align our response with guidance from Government and public health authorities and are taking business continuity measures to ensure that we are well prepared as the situation develops.
We are working to continue to serve our customers in these uncertain times – in sharing knowledge and suppling resources both for teachers who are planning for when children return to school, and for parents looking for books for home reading. We aim to ensure that schools and parents receive the same professionalism, care and service level that they have come to expect from us, whilst also looking after the health and wellbeing of our employees.
Badger Learning have been supporting teachers and inspiring children for 30 years, and we truly hope to continue supporting you for many more.
We whole-heartedly believe that reading is a vital life skill, and we know children that read for pleasure do better in life, have better mental health and bigger aspirations. The ability to escape into a different world full of magic and wonder is certainly one of the coping mechanisms we’re using right now, as well as reminding us that we are not alone.
We have reduced our team to a skeleton staff, allowing us to continue to serve our customers and supply a range of home learning resources vital to children’s continuing education at home. Please be assured our remaining staff are able to use social distancing strategies and continue to use the strict hygiene regimes we've been implementing for the past few weeks. We also continue to work with our service partners to ensure safe deliveries.
Do call customer service, who are ready to advise if you have any questions.
We appreciate that you will probably have much better things to do than read this right now. You'll be focussing on the immediate needs of your pupils and their families, as well as reeling from the changing situation as we all are.
Badger Learning have been supporting teachers and inspiring children for 30 years, and we truly hope to continue supporting you for many more. We whole-heartedly believe that reading is a vital life skill, and we know children that read for pleasure do better in life, have better mental health and bigger aspirations. The ability to escape into a different world full of magic and wonder is certainly one of the coping mechanisms we’re using right now, as well as reminding us that we are not alone.
When things do settle down a bit, and they will, we wanted to let you know we are still here. Our office staff are moving to home working and this will help to allow our warehouse team more space to spread out and use social distancing strategies. We also continue to use the strict hygiene regimes we've been implementing for the past few weeks.
In the meantime we are considering how we might work to support pupils in home-based learning, and at ideas for supporting school librarians to work with pupils at a distance.
Our phone lines are still open with the customer service team ready to advise if you have any questions.
Thank you for all you do. Stay safe and keep strong,
The Badger Learning Team