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Children’s Book Week

October 1, 2012

Today marks the start of national Children’s Book Week: the annual celebration of reading for pleasure for children of primary school age that has been running for the past 80 years. Running from 1st-7th October, the theme of this year’s celebrations will be ‘Heroes and Heroines’. The BookTrust website has this introduction to the festivities, which explains how teachers, librarians, parents and others can get involved.

One perfect way of celebrating Children’s Book Week yourself is by reading aloud with a child or young person that you care for: and what better book to do this with than A Little, Aloud for Children?! The Reader Organisation’s latest publication is a collection of some of the greatest children’s literature from past to present, carefully selected for its success in being read aloud with young readers.

If you wanted to get into this years’ book week theme, there’s plenty of great choices to be found in the book: from Tom Sawyer and Toad of Toad Hall, to Ruby and Garland from Jacqueline Wilson’s Double Act, the anthology is filled with literary heroes and heroines of every description!

The Reader Organisation’s promotion of reading  with children and young people goes beyong this week, however, and if you want to join-in with the reading aloud fun beyond Children’s Book Week, why not come along to the Family Reading Day that is part of the Manchester Literary Festival this year? On Sunday 21st October, staff from The Reader Organisation will be setting-up shop in the Market Place of the Manchester Town Hall Reception Room for a day of live interactive readings from A Little, Aloud for Children and discussions about reading for pleasure with young people. You can find out about this and all the other exciting events taking place on the day on the MLF website. Hope to see you there!

Adele Geras: A Little, Aloud for Children

September 26, 2012

At The Reader Organisation we are firm believers in the magic of reading aloud, and it’s nice to know that other people agree with us. In this lovely review of A Little Aloud for Children, acclaimed author Adele Geras urges readers – young and old – to harness their inner child and discover the delights that await within the pages.

In particular, Adele comments on the great selection of poetry in the anthology, as well as the combination of contemporary and older pieces.  book. She notes that reading aloud can be relaxing and stimulating, providing both comfort and excitement all in one go, for adults and children alike.

As Adele says, “We all like to hear a story”, and A Little, Aloud for Children has plenty of them! You can buy your copy here and in all good book shops. Don’t forget to tell us which is your favourite and who you’re reading it with – we love to hear from you.




Tall Tales and Little Angels!

August 31, 2012

Staff from The Reader Organisation had a fantastic afternoon yesterday, hosting the event ‘Tall Tales for Little Children’ at BBC Radio Merseyside, which brought A Little, Aloud for Children to life for some local youngsters and their carers.

The event kicked-off with a brilliant reading of the ever-popular extract from Frank Cottrell Boyce’s hilarious novel Cosmic, by the equally popular Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips.

TRO and ‘Uncle Roger’ get the fun started at the BBC Radio Merseyside studios yesterday, with some readings from ‘A Little, Aloud for Children’

 After a couple of delightful readings of poems from the anthology by TRO project workers, and with imaginations fired-up, it was time to get stuck-into some creative and crafty activities…

First-up was the chance to make and decorate some beautiful 3D angels, inspired by the poem ‘Angels’ by Jan Dean featured in the anthology.

Jessica proudly displays her fab-looking angel…

Sunny and his brother Noah showed us that angels aren’t just for girls, with their brilliant ‘boy angel’ and ‘bat angel’!

In the second activity, ‘Weird Words’, everybody got to be a poet for the afternoon: we penned our own very imaginative verses and stories using words taken from all of the poems featured in the anthology.

Creative hats firmly on, everyone is deep in concentration with their ‘Weird Words’

We ended the event by reading-out some of the more imaginative creations by our budding poets, and here’s  just a taste of what we came up with …

‘An Anaconda the size of a tower’?!! Yikes.

It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, and everybody had a great time – so a big thank you to BBC Radio Merseyside and Up For Arts for inviting us to some along and giving us the space to run such a fun event.

Daisy (or is it Minnie?!) gets carried away with ‘A Little, Aloud for Children’ …

Give Yourself a Hug with Pippa

August 31, 2012

The collection of stories and poems in A Little, Aloud for Children are certainly getting people talking and sending imaginations soaring. You can tell us your favourite bits of the book under the ‘Your Comments’ section of the blog – we want to hear all about which parts you’ve been enjoying and who you’ve been sharing them with. Don’t wait to let us know!

Two people who’ve been enjoying A Little, Aloud for Children are some friends of, Pippa and Grandpa Joe. In fact, they’ve loved the book so much that they’ve made some videos reading their favourites. Click here to listen to Grandpa Joe tell the tale of The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban in his own special style, and if you look below, you’ll see Pippa reading Give Yourself a Hug by Grace Nichols.

Head over to The Reader Online to find out more about the slightly crazy but definitely cool book reviewing world of…

Tall Tales for Little Children

August 28, 2012

A Little, Aloud for Children has become a radio star in its own right over the past 2 weeks, as BBC Radio Merseyside has provided numerous slots on their airwaves for the book to make an appearance.

All of these guest appearances have been a part of the promotion for the event ‘Tall Tales for Little Children’, which The Reader Organisation is running in association with Up For Arts at the BBC Radio Merseyside studios.

Here are just two of our starring radio roles from the past week:

  1. Anna Fleming, a young person’s project worker, appears on Breakfast with Lee Bennion (at 1 hour 50 mins in), accompanied by Sophie and Ariadne – two of the young people from Merseyside she reads with every week.
  2. Myself and two of the Graphic Arts students from Liverpool John Moores University who provided illustrations for the book – Rheannon Ormond and Carolina Feng Chen – appeared on air yesterday for an interview with Roger Lyon on his early morning show (at 2 hours 25).

This Thursday, 30th August, TRO will take-over the performance space at the Hanover Street studio for a fantastic family-friendly event involving shared readings from A Little, Aloud for Children, and the chance to get involved in some creative, fun (and potentially messy!) crafts and activities. Tall Tales for Little Children will run from 2-4pm, and you can book a place by calling Radio Merseyside’s A-Team on 0151 794 0984.  All children attending must be between the ages of 6-10, and be accompanied by an adult.

For more information, get in touch with Charlotte:

Skimpily Red!

August 17, 2012

Here’s a funny Friday treat from A Little, Aloud for Children – watch Joe reading the hilarious poem ‘Skimpily Red’ by Celia Gentles.

Don’t forget, we want to hear from you! Which bits from A Little, Aloud for Children have made you laugh out loud?

The Pop-Up fun continues!

August 8, 2012

Did you see the story about The Peculiar Pop-Up Story Shop in the Wirral News this week, and wish you’d been able to come and join in the fun?

Well, fear not, because we’ve got not one but two ways for you to keep ‘popping’!

This Friday 10th August at 12pm, three of our Project Workers will be reading stories and poems from  A Little, Aloud for Children on the pop-up Summer of Love Liverpool Bandstand in Williamson Square. The event is free to all, and it should be a lovely day, so why not come along with your family and friends to enjoy some funny stories in the sunshine?

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to Liverpool though – watching this video of The Peculiar Pop-Up Story Shop’s best bits will certainly have you laughing, and maybe even spark an idea for some stories and games of your own!

WARNING: if you don’t like snakes or tarantulas, look away now!

Reading With Children is Magic!

August 3, 2012

Here at The Reader Organisation we are familiar with the powerful, and sometimes spell-binding effect that reading aloud with other people can produce. Reading with young people in particular can sometimes seem to be a magical process, sending sparks through imaginations in a way that nothing else can. At least, that’s what one of our Young Person’s Project Workers believes, as she articulates beautifully in this bewitching blog post that appeared on the website of national charity Booktrust this week.

This story is the perfect testimony to why A Little, Aloud for Children exists: to capture and to inspire moments like those that Anna shares witht he children she reads with. Reading aloud with children helps them to feel that books are something to be shared, and enjoyed, with other people; to read with a child is not just to pass-on a skill, but to give them memories that will last for a lifetime. Thanks Anna, for such an enchanting piece of writing!

The Peculiar Pop-Up Story Shop!

July 26, 2012

Twenty lucky children have been spending the first week of their summer holidays at The Peculiar Pop-Up Story Shop!

The Reader Organisation have transformed a disused shop in Seacombe into a Creativity Camp and Imagination Station with funding from Wirral Borough Council’s Empty Shops Fund and A Little, Aloud for Children has been at the heart of all the activities. So far, we’ve had a special reading of the book from its editor, Angela Macmillan, as well as the chance to hold owls, snakes, tarantulas, and other curious creatures. Fantastic feasts, drama-rama, and creative crafts are all on the bill, and the Mayor of Wirral even poppped by and let everyone try on his mayoral chain! To round it all off, every day has finished with some stories and poems from A Little, Aloud for Children.

Keep checking the blog to read more about what we got up to, but in the meantime, here’s a little taster of the fun and games so far:

The Mayor of Wirral enjoyed reading ‘A Little, Aloud for Children’

The boys settle down with a book


Don’t look now, but there’s a snake around your neck….!

‘A Little, Aloud for Children’ Party!

July 24, 2012

Last week The Reader Organisation hosted a very special event indeed at the Liverpool head offices. On Wednesday afternoon, the old school hall at The Friary Centre was transformed into a party room as we welcomed young people, carers, siblings and staff to the ‘A Little, Aloud for Children Party’!

The party was packed-full with food and fun – as were we, by the end…

The party celebrated the recent release of our anthology of poetry and prose for young readers, and the guests of honour were the children and youngsters that TRO project workers read with one-to-one every week. The creation of this newest book was inspired by the many wonderful stories and experiences that have come out of the charity’s work with young people, and the party on Wednesday was the perfect way to say a huge ‘thank you’ to these reading stars.

Every child that we read with received a free copy of the new anthology, signed and personalized by Angie. On top of this, the youngsters at the party were treated to an afternoon packed-full with food, games, readings and a lot of laughter. Along with project workers from TRO, Angie kick-started the event with a series of very dramatic and sometimes hilarious readings of poems from the book. Angie’s spooky narration of ‘In The Stump of the Old Tree’ got children squirming in their seats, and saying ‘eeewwww’, whilst a performance of Gareth Owens’ ‘Conversation Piece’ had the audience in stitches.

Someone is very proud of her home-made Angels!

All of the games and activities the children took part in during the party were based around the book, too. We took inspiration from Angie’s brilliant ‘themed’ pairings of prose and poetry, using her categories ‘Monsters of the Deep’ and ‘Angels’ for craft activities. Neil Gaiman’s poem ‘Instructions’ provided the basis for a journey-making game, where the children had to find their way around some pretty hairy routes, and describe what happens along the way – one of the young people involved commented, ‘Guess who I meet at the end? My brother!’  Children were asked to be as imaginative as possible with the ‘Weird Words’ game, in which they used some of the best / strangest words from poems in the book to make their own poem or story.

One of the young people read-out their creative triumph from the ‘Weird Words’ game.

In a lovely close to the event, one of the young people present read out the poem she had written during the afternoon, and books were presented to all the children there. In a final reading, one of our Young People’s Project Workers read-out Grace Nichols’ poem ‘Give Yourself a Hug’ from the book – a sentiment that we all acted-out, and which all of the children certainly deserved.  None of the attendees went away empty-handed: to go along with their book, they all also took-away goody-bags filled with cakes, sweets, crisps and strawberries … and there was still food leftover! We all came away feeling very full and very content.