Regular readers may know that I am the proud owner of two blogs.
There is this blog, which is sweary and opinionated.
Then there is my other blog, which is about my passion for children’s literature and child literacy. It is not sweary. It is very opinionated.
Generally I keep the two blogs separate because they don’t necessarily share the same audience/interest groups.
I am reposting a post I wrote for Making them Readers today though, because I am a bit in love.
I am a bit in love with the awesome writing duo, Cid and Mo, who came to our school last week because they are nice to me, and did some work across the whole of our Key Stage Two classes (6-11 year olds), about their book; ‘The Janksters and the Talking Slug.’
I met Cid and Mo because of this book, when I was bumbling around looking for something that would work for boys aged about 7-10 who were struggling with the technical aspects of reading, but who had progressed way beyond picture books in terms of what they were interested in.
I wrote to them, and they sent me a copy of their book, which I road tested, and our relationship has gone on from there.
Here is what I thought of their visit:
Last week we were lucky enough to host the wonderful Cid and Mo in school.
Cid and Mo are authors of a book specifically designed to appeal to reluctant boy readers aged between about seven and ten. They currently have one book out; ‘The Janksters and the Talking Slug’, but another book is scheduled for publication in November of this year (2013).
Cid and Mo offered to come to school and give us a taster of what they offer in terms of school visits. Their visit to us was free of charge in return for an honest review and blog write up. All opinions expressed are indeed completely honest.
Their usual rates are £150 for a half day visit and £250 for a full day visit. Rates and what they include can be found on their website.
Luckily I only have the nicest of things to say.
We ran a circus skills workshop for three days last week in school. One of the days it was on clashed with Cid and Mo’s visit, and we were very grateful that they were able to be flexible about what they were offering us, so that we could fit both things in.
Usually, for a half day visit, which was what we had, Cid and Mo would start the day with a whole school assembly, introducing themselves and what they do, and then move on to individual workshops with KS2 classes.
Because our hall was set up for circus skills Cid and Mo delivered their assembly to all of our KS2 classes in turn, which meant we could give every child a taster of what Cid and Mo were about, but not that we had time for the individual workshops.
Given the response we had from the children though, I can see that we will have to have them back for a return visit.
It is fair to say that all the children I encountered really loved their experience with Cid and Mo. Two of my children took part and both of them were talking about it for two or three days afterwards, and many children came to find me on the day of the visit to tell me what an excellent time they’d had.
I sat in on one of the sessions. This is what I noticed:
Cid and Mo obviously have a wealth of experience in dealing with children in large and small groups. They held the children’s attention effortlessly.
The material they delivered was inclusive. There was no mention of the fact that this book has special features for struggling readers, or that it is aimed more at boy readers, although this information is available for teachers and for parents on their website. It is introduced as a straightforward, fun book for everyone, which is absolutely what it is as well as all of the above. Nobody was singled out, and the whole thing was harmonious.
Cid and Mo are great story tellers, both in the oral story telling tradition, and in reading aloud. They captivated the children with their stories, and their music.
Cid and Mo are excellent at building rapport with the children and know exactly what tickles a child’s funny bone. There was a section of the session where the adults (me!) were taken outside while Cid helped the children set up a series of pranks to play on us when we returned. It was the high spot of the event.
Cid and Mo talked about how they write stories and what it means to be a writer. I love the fact that they made it clear that this is something that the children could and can do to.
The visit was a total success.
I measured this by three things:
The children’s responses on the day – which were uniformly positive
The teacher’s feedback – All the teachers I spoke to were impressed and the feedback I have received from them, and passed on to Cid and Mo is extremely positive. The fact that Cid and Mo both have a background in teaching means that they know exactly what teachers need. They arrived with all their paperwork in order, forms, information sheets, lesson plans and booklets of ideas for the teachers, with the aim being to enrich the classroom experience, not add to the burden of an already pressured time table.
How many books Cid and Mo sold – It is difficult to raise funds in our school in the current economic crisis, and in a week where children were already buying circus supplies from our circus shop and being asked for money to pay for their pantomime visits in December, I wasn’t sure how many books Cid and Mo would have to sign when they came back to school on Friday morning for a book signing. I was delighted that there were a good number there for them to sign, and I am positive, after the books get passed around from child to child, that there will be more fans for the next visit.
As well as being writers, Cid and Mo are literacy consultants, patrons of reading in school and passionate advocates of the necessity for reading aloud to children. They offer a range of different services to schools and are building on them all the time. We think they are so good, we will definitely be having them back to build on the foundations they have already laid in school.
You can see what Cid and Mo thought of us in their blog post here.