Language, Literacy, Imagination, and Reading-Aloud — A Teacher’s Reflections

I found a great blog post that talks about the importance of reading aloud to children, whether it is in a classroom environment or at home. I liked the use of chapter books for younger children as it allows their imagination to grow with the text.

The link to the complete blog post is below.


People often ask why I chapter read. After all, many of the children in my classroom are are three-years-old. When we chapter read, the children don’t have an image from a picture book. They have to make the pictures in their head. That requires language development. The more they hear, the more they learn. Even […]

via Language, Literacy, Imagination, and Reading-Aloud — A Teacher’s Reflections

Creative writing



While not everyone dreams of writing a storybook or novel, there are some people who do dream of spending their time with words in solitude.

If you or your child loves to write, English tuition can help those students who are keen to write, yet need a little guidance with grammar, structure, or the choice of present or past tense.

I’ve also included some links below to other sites that will assist in fine-tuning your piece of creative writing.

NSW Writers’ Centre

Scholastic Story Starters

Australian Writers’ Centre

Daily Writing Tips



Reading as part of the Year 7 and 8 syllabus

This section is reflective of the current Australian Curriculum (found at and is designed to give teachers, parents and students an idea of what texts are appropriate for this stage of schooling.

The outcomes for this stage (stage 4) are shown in the image below:

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This excerpt above indicates the level of complexity that students should be capable of by the end of this stage of schooling. Parents and teachers can assist students to reflect deeply on the texts that they read in – and out – of class in order to “expand their perspectives” and critically explore texts.

The reading requirements from the board of studies website are shown as follows:

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Examples of texts to explore at this level can include:

Blueback by Tim Winton which is a story that encompasses ideas of sustainability, environment, and courage;

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The Arrival by Shaun Tan which deals with themes of belonging, migratation, and race; and

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Bran Nue Dae, a film that explores racial tension between indigenous and non-indigenous communities within outback Australia.

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As a parent or a teacher, we can encourage our students to enjoy the texts, infer meaning within the texts, and apply the learning to everyday life.


Reading aloud to your children


The benefits of reading aloud to your children – or to the children in your classroom – have been documented in various studies. In a document by the Victorian State Government the following statistics were given:


For further information about reading to your children the link to the above statistics is

While reading to your children when they are young is important, it is also important to read to older children as this helps them to reach the next stage of learning. In this way they may stretch their ability to enjoy a book that they might not yet be able to confidently read themselves. The enjoyment of new books can encourage children to try to read other books in the same series or genre.

Other sites on reading to children include:

On Keeping a (Writing) Notebook (or Three) — Discover

While reading through some other blogs I came across this article by Randon Billings Noble on the site

I’ll share this with you here because I think that the importance of using a journal (or three) for creative and academic writing can be adapted for each of us. You’ll just need to click on the link below to go to the full article.

Randon Billings Noble on the importance of keeping a notebook: “But my writing notebooks keep me writing — through rejection, triumph, inspiration, and disenchantment…”

via On Keeping a (Writing) Notebook (or Three) — Discover

Author interview with Belinda Murrell

Belinda Murrell writes childrens fiction – both junior readers and for older children. Belinda kindly offered some insights into her writing:



1.    What does your workspace look like?

I live in an on old Victorian house near the sea with my husband Rob and three children. I am lucky enough to have a beautiful office at home, which is lined with hundreds of books, has a fireplace and looks out over my garden. My dog Asha keeps me company, sleeping in front of the fire. It is a gorgeous place to work – sunny, calm and quiet.

2.    Who or what inspires your work?

As a children’s author, perhaps it’s not surprising that kids are my greatest inspiration. Initially it was my own three children Nick, Emily and Lachie who inspired me to write books for them. Now however I am also inspired by readers who love my books and children I meet. One of the greatest inspirations is receiving hundreds of emails, drawings and letters from children who love my books. They tell me what they love about each book, and beg me to write more. I also spend several weeks each year on tour – speaking at literary festivals, schools, bookstores and Book Week events. Each year I meet thousands of children and I love talking with them, discussing what they enjoy about books, what interests them and intrigues them. Many of my ideas for books are triggered by conversations or experiences I’ve had with children.

3.    What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

I have four tips which all begin with P! They are:

Passion – write what you love. Write from your heart. Don’t try to follow trends. Write for yourself.

Persistence – there are so many writers with talent, who write extremely well. But to succeed as a writer you need bucketloads of determination and tenacity. Succeeding as a writer can only be achieved through lots of hard work over many years!

Practise – write constantly. Write every day. Take a notebook with you everywhere and fill it.

Pack your bags – travel the world and have amazing adventures. Work at various jobs, volunteer, experience life, fill your notebooks with sights, people and experiences.

4.    What was your reaction when you found out that your first manuscript was going to be published?

Utter joy! I screamed and cried and laughed. It was definitely one of the most exciting days in my life. My agent rang to tell me the news. My family all came running to find out what was going on. Then I rang my sister Kate (who is also an author). She was as thrilled as I was and we celebrated with French champagne. Despite all the excitement, I couldn’t really believe it was true until I first saw my name on the cover of a book in a bookstore.

5.    What dreams do you have for your writing career?

To keep writing books which kids love. To stretch myself and keep getting better as a writer. To challenge myself and try different genres and styles.  I have been incredibly lucky to have a career as a writer doing something I love so much. I work with a fantastic team at Random House who are so talented and supportive. I get to spend time with lots of extremely gifted and inspirational authors. I am now writing my twenty-first book, yet I still get very anxious when I finish a new book and am waiting for my publisher to read it. Will she like it? Is it any good? Writing can be a solitary and often difficult job. Yet opening that package with your book straight from the printer is still one of the best feelings in the world.

And a quick biography:

Belinda Murrell is an internationally published, bestselling children’s author. Her 21 books include The Sun Sword Trilogy, a fantasy-adventure series for boys and girls aged 8 to 12. Her time-slip books – The Locket of Dreams, The Ruby Talisman, The Forgotten Pearl, and The Ivory Rose – have been shortlisted for various awards, including KOALAs (2013, 2012 and 2011), CBCA Notable List and highly commended in the PM’s Literary Awards. Her new book, The River Charm, is based on the thrilling adventures of her ancestors. For younger readers (aged 6 to 9) Belinda has a new Lulu Bell series, about friends, family, animals and adventures growing up in a vet hospital. <;