FIRST, they are about children reading. That is what we do. We introduce children to the idea that books are fun, that books are interesting – that reading is a critical life skill.
SECOND, they are about thinking and imagination – playing with ideas.
THIRD, they are about writing and illustrating, thinking individually and critically, interpreting ideas – assessing their value.
FOURTH, they are about making sense of our world, reading outside a set curriculum, acquiring knowledge, and understanding.
FIFTH, they are about fun. They include reading games and activities, creative, playful activities, and individual choice.
HOW MANY TOOLBOXES ARE THERE?
There are three toolboxes.
- RED: BOOKS AND STORIES – created for children of around ten.
- GREEN: ENVIRONMENT – reading for eleven-year-old readers
- BLUE: TIME AND LANDSCAPE – more challenging reading for twelve-year olds and over
WHAT IS IN THE READING TOOLBOXES?
Books. Each box holds themed book bags containing carefully curated books to stimulate reading interest – and enough of them to offer freedom of choice. The books are at different levels to offer variety and ease of access.
Imagination. Each themed handbook gives over a hundred pages of specially created stories, poems, non-fiction, and texts from contemporary sources. Readers have to think imaginatively and creatively – individually.
Reading games and activities around the topics – learning through play and fun.
Ideas about improving reading skills.
A creative writing course tailored to the themes and age-groups
WHO CAN USE THE READING TOOLBOXES?
Anybody who is working to promote reading to children. Librarians, after school groups, parents, teachers. They can also be used by individual children or children working in groups together, families and homeschoolers, reading clubs … anyone!
They can be used by facilitators in workshops for up to twenty children, in small groups or individually. They are endlessly adaptable and can easily be customized for specific tasks.
They can be used as a supplement to the curriculum but are not designed to be curriculum compliant. They are free, stand-alone resources, pathways to knowledge and understanding – and more books.
IS THERE SPECIAL TRAINING NEEDED?
No. There are basic ideas in a separate activities book, and many ideas for facilitators on how to use the material. But the basic requirement is to READ the books and material carefully before presenting to children. Facilitators have to read too!
IS THERE HELP WITH READING ALOUD?
Yes. There is a section on our website called Reading Allowed that offers recordings of different voices reading the stories, poems and non-fiction. This can be accessed by cellphone and played to children while they read the printed texts.
WHERE DID WE SOURCE THE MATERIAL?
Over ten years of experience holding workshops with children who come voluntarily to workshops after school, at weekends and in school holidays, have given us tested and trialed ways of stimulating more, and better, reading. Everything is specially written to interest readers, to take them further in their reading journey. There are hundreds of pages of original material created for CBN.
Our CBN staff are teachers with a sound practical understanding of how to present ideas to children.
WHAT LANGUAGE DO WE USE?
English. After age nine, children are taught some, or most, subjects in English. It is the language of access to whole libraries of books and to future education.
WHEN ARE THE TOOLBOXES USEFUL?
As stimulating and exciting reading in free time – weekends and holidays or after school.
To bring books to children, and children to books
Lesley Beake – Writer, Editor and Reading Activist
+27 082 6464 420
Director Children’s Book Network