Read-alouds for New Beginnings/A Place to Learn/Learning to be Together themes

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Authored by

Jean Gross

Empathy Lab have released new read-alouds for 2021. There’s a great collection of readings for upper primary and lower secondary about how it feels to be new or struggling to make friends. There’s an extract from 'Five Ways to Make a Friend' by Gillian Cross, and Matt Abbott reading his poem 'The Dinner Invitation', about Ahmed who has started at a new school in Y6 - how will he make any friends if no-one talks to him? Then there’s Cath Howe reading a chapter of Ella on the Outside, a tale that will strike a chord with anyone who has felt the pressure to please a new friend or has struggled to fit in. Steve Camden reads First Day from Everything All At Once, his poetry collection about life at secondary school. Discover sharp insights into anxieties about fitting in, first love, and hiding in the loos.

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We especially liked the poems by Matt Goodfellow (‘Strest’ – the day Charlie cried)- good for Y6 and secondary - that explore the difference between inside feelings and what we show on the outside. They would be very useful to use with boys.

If you are working on the issues facing refugees and migrants, Wendy Meddour reads Lubna and Pebble, a picture book for young children with an unforgettable story that subtly addresses their experience. For older children (Y6 and secondary) Sonia Beck reads the moving Did You See Me? by Kit de Waal , and Moniza Alvi reads The Camp from the poetry anthology A Country to Call Home, edited by Lucy Popescu.

On the Empathy Lab link you’ll also find great read alouds from previous years, including Joseph Coelho reading Elmer's Birthday by David McKee. The elephants pretend to have forgotten Elmer's birthday but things don't go entirely to plan...Published to celebrate 30 years of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, helping children to understand that being different is just fine.