#70 Specialist Subject: Literature


Most English Departments in most schools will at some point ask pupils to write in some depth about a text of their choice. This may be a novel, a non-fiction text, poetry or short stories.

Several years ago, I set a blog ‘database’ of texts, which contained reviews, plot outline (no spoiler!), author details and links to any film tie-in. The latter was particularly popular partly, I fear, due to a desire to do their SSL project without reading the book.

Learning Teaching Scotland attempted to move this idea forward in 2005/6 by creating the Book Maze, but this seems to have fizzled out, as there is little evidence of recent activity. I had some input into the Book Maze, but was of the opinion that it should be aimed at pupils rather than teachers or librarians, who generally don’t need guidance in this area.

I think this is a great idea to promote literature study, if you can find the time to do it. If not, you could consider getting your pupils to do it for you.


#46 Web Content: Reading

Web Content

Whatever tool you’re using to get your message across on the web, your actual content is, or should be, king. So what to link to? Author and book sites are the most obvious place to start, some starting points listed below.






Google Directory

Jubilee Books

Random House


Strongest Links

Teen Reads

The Wee Web

The Word Pool

UK Children’s Books

Yahoo Directory

Book Reviews


Guardian Children’s Library

Jubilee Books

Penguin Children


Teen Reads

#44 Sound Out Your Authors

Sound Out Your Authors

Podcasts, strictly speaking, are a type of audio blog, where the information is updated regularly. Your subscribers will await updates via RSS or visit the web area where the podcast lives, such as i-tunes or your own blog.

However, I don’t see any reason why you can’t use the same technology to make static recordings which will not need updating often, but will provide your pupils and staff with useful information. A good example might be audio clips about authors (short example below) or book reviews.

Once you’ve created one, it’s very easy and quick to create more. These audio files have the advantage that they may be of particular use to pupils who have poor reading skills, or are more likely to engage with audio than text. It’s a good idea to encourage your pupils to do the recordings, particularly those with bright voices and clear diction; I generally tend NOT to use my own voice!

Philip Pullman: Short Bio