Children as authors

By March 9, 2016 3 Comments

In keeping with my plan to blog every day, here’s today’s post:

I had the privilege of working at Huntingtree Primary School again last week; this time with the Year 5s who were in full swing with a week long celebration of books, reading and writing for #WorldBookDay, organised by Claire Bracher, Assistant Headteacher.

The final outcome for the session was for the children to publish a book but the context of the learning meant that there was lots of cross curricular opportunities available from the English, Computing and PHSE (Values) objectives. In addition the children were able to work on the skills of speaking and listening and collaboration. The session was designed to show the children that books come in more than one format; that there is more than one way to achieve publication ie in the digital world, and also, and some would say most importantly for them to realise that there is a wider audience out there for them to aspire to reach.  

Preparation for the session began prior to my arrival with children discussing the impact of their clear school values on their work in class and around the school. The values at the school were chosen by the teachers as part of an Inset day in 2015 with Nina Jackson @musicmind. The session with the children would prove to be a great indicator of how far the children had moved in relation to the embedding of these values in their school.

The school values are:

  • Respect
  • Cooperation
  • Perseverance
  • Caring
  • Independence
  • Fairness

In the afternoon, the children undertook a number of activities to showcase their understanding of their values. Some of these included preparing and memorising speeches to record in video to make the introductory video for their multi touch book (we used MSQRD for this). The children also used the app ‘Book Creator’ to create comic pages to form the basis for the main part of the book.

By the end of the afternoon, the book was done. All that was then needed was to combine the books using the Book Creator app and then get it all uploaded to the iBooks store for it to be publication.

All in all it was a fantastic afternoon and the impact on the children was, quite frankly, awesome. For them, the opportunity to go home to tell their parents that they were published authors and that their parents would be able to download their book either from iBooks (or as an ePub if required) was massively authentic for them. Their work had purpose and their efforts were admirably met in relation  to the standards required of them to enable their goal to be achieved. It was one of those afternoons where, in every direction in the classroom, there was learning and engagement combined.


One quote that I regularly share is one from Rushton Hurley where he said, ‘If students are sharing their work with the world, they want it to be good. If they’re just sharing it with you, they want it to be good enough.” This quote was ably matched by the Year 5 children of Huntingtree Primary. Their heads were definitely held high and feedback from the children following the day has been amazing.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 22.50.06

So to reflect upon the original outcome, did the children publish a book? Were the cross-curricular themes covered? Yes. Were the children massively engaged in their learning in an authentic project? Yes. Are the values of the school embedded in the children that attend that school? I’ll let you decide – you can download and read the Huntingtree book from iBooks for yourself here.

One child in the class was so moved, he even made me a card. It is one of those very special things that I will always treasure.

If you like this activity and think that it would work well with your classes and would like my support, please contact me.


Leave a Reply