Helping children enjoy writing: Currie Library’s Creative Writing Club

At the start of the year, Currie Library launched a Creative Writing Club for P5-7 pupils from local primary schools. The club, which meets on alternate Saturdays from 3 to 4pm, kicked off with 12 children (six girls and six boys).

Club Adviser Suzanne Green, who is part of the Currie, Colinton and Balerno Libraries team, is a freelance writer and editor with almost 30 years of experience. She aims to keep the club members engaged, providing them with new challenges at each meeting. The focus is very much on helping them to enjoy writing by finding out what they like to read, helping them to discover their strengths and what they enjoy working on, regularly giving them new prompts and challenges to keep them engaged and ensuring they enjoy the club and look forward to the next session.

One week the children were asked to go to the children’s section of the library and choose a book by one of their favourite authors. When they returned with their books, they were challenged to write a story, copying the style of their preferred author. Later, when they read their stories out loud, the other members of the club guessed which author they were trying to imitate. Suzanne explained that sometimes it’s good for artists to copy someone who is very good at their craft, and then later develop their own personal style.

At the next meeting, Suzanne gave each club member the first few lines of a Horrid Henry story she had written, inviting them to finish it:

It was Tuesday.

Horrid Henry woke up and a feeling of dread descended over him.

Today was the day of the dentist appointment. And it wasn’t going to be like most visits to the dentist. This time it was not a check-up. This time Henry would have a tooth filled.

Henry had never had to have a filling done. And he still could not believe it was true. But at his last check-up the dentist, Dr. Overbite, said to him, “Well, Henry, it looks like you have been eating too many sweets and having too many sugary drinks! We will have to do a little filling on your next visit…”

More recently, club members were invited to take turns accessing scholastic.com’s interactive story starter site. By pulling the levers to spin four different wheels, the children were given a genre, a character, an adjective describing that character and a situation or plot. The club has also been challenged to examine the contents of a bag of 10 random everyday objects and then write a story in which two or three of those objects play a part.

Attendance is normally between eight and ten children, and their tastes range from science fiction, to adventure, to mystery stories, to fantasy. So far, they have not been keen to work on poetry, so that will be a challenge for the Club Adviser!

If you know someone in P5-P7 who likes to write and would be interested in joining the group, contact Currie Library for more information.

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Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has arrived!  The challenge for children aged 5-12 is to read six books over the school holidays. The theme is Animal Agents – who are investigating strange goings on in the library! Children collect stickers as they go and help crime busting creatures solve the clues to reveal the mystery!

On successfully completing the challenge, children receive a certificate and a gold medal!! There are also some excellent prizes on up for grabs this year including Dynamic Earth family passes, astronomy evenings at the Royal Observatory and Edinburgh Leisure passes, with more to be confirmed.

Pop into your local library and sign up to join in the fun. Borrow some animal agents themed books whilst you are there or any book you like. You can also find out what children’s activities will be taking place over the summer in your library whilst you are there. As well as borrowing books from the library you can even download some of our children’s ebooks and audiobooks to join in with the fun. Check out our Summer Reading Challenge collection on our OverDrive Kids site.

The Animal Agents adventure starts on the 23 June and runs until 27 August.

Explorers at the Library: Edinburgh Art Festival families programme

This year the Edinburgh Art Festival’s Explorers families programme comes to Central Library for free weekly creative art making sessions suitable for ages 8-13. These sessions are inspired by the EAF artist commissions programme and the ‘Making of the Future’ theme. Join us weekly or drop in for a one-off session to creatively re-imagine your city.

“Tower” by Toby Patterson, Dunfermline 2014

Each session will look at a different artist and include 2D and 3D arts activities such as building a miniature bothy inspired by artist Bobby Niven, designing a modernist city after artist Toby Paterson and creating inflatable giant flower sculptures inspired by artist duo Walker and Bromwich.

All sessions will be held in the George Washington Room within the Central Library

Thu 6 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Walker and Bromwich
Create your own inflatable sculptures and model dragons inspired by Walker and Bromwich’s Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership.

Thu 13 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Bobby Niven
Design and build your own miniature bothys and dens inspired by Bobby Niven’s Palmhouse.

Thu 20 July 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Shannan Te Ao
Make musical instruments and write your own musical score inspired by Shannan Te Ao’s use of Maori songs and proverbs.

Thu 3 August 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: Toby Paterson
Make your own 3D collage of a fantasy building, drawing on Paterson’s modernist architectural influences.

Thu 10 August 2-4pm
Explorers at the Library: The Making of the Future
Design and build a miniature installation in the library, of a future Edinburgh city centre inspired by the “grandfather of town planning”, Patrick Geddes.

In celebration of the children’s work the outcomes of each workshop will be exhibited in the Children’s Library for the last week of the festival, 21-27 August.

These sessions are free and all materials are included. Booking is recommended, but not essential. To book call  0131 242 8040 or visit www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk

A childhood dreamland

The staircase exhibition in Central Library for April is Idyllic Garden in Mind: Childhood Dreamland which uses illustrations from Kate Greenaway’s children’s books. The exhibition was created by Lin Fan, an Art History master’s degree student at the University of Edinburgh.

Fan has selected some beautiful Kate Greenaway books as well as some lovely winners of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library’s collections. Last month, she also held a Garden Book Family Craft Workshop inspired by Kate Greenway’s illustrations and some of the books created by the children will be on display too.

Browse the ‘childhood dreamland’ in the Central Library staircase and foyer display areas from 3 – 28 April 2017.

 

The Magic of Mathletics

Want to help your children or grandchildren improve their maths? Why not mathleticsget them signed up to use Mathletics through Edinburgh Libraries. Mathletics is a fantastic website that teaches children maths in a fun and addictive way. You sign them up at their Scottish school level so you know they will be learning exactly what they need for school. They can work towards “medals” and can compete against each other in online maths games.

mathletics-love-learning-featured-image-400pxThere are almost 5 million children of primary and secondary age using Mathletics around the world including many who use it in their schools. A study at the University of Oxford recently found that pupils regularly using Mathletics outperformed non-users in Primary 6 Standard Attainment Tests in terms of attainment and progress.

Many parents pay a subscription for their children to use Mathletics, but you just need to sign up through Edinburgh Libraries to use it for free.

Get Them Learning Online!

Recent research by the National Literacy Trust into technology and reading suggests that alongside books technology can play an important role for children in supporting early communication, language and literacy.

Edinburgh Libraries has got a brilliant range of online resources for children and teens to help them do just that! They are all available to use from home or the library. So get them started on –

  • OverDrive Kids & Teens – an ebook and audiobook site just for kids, filled with a fantastic array of titles and authors. Favourites include ebooks by Roald Dahl and the Harry Potter audiobooks read by Stephen Fry. As well as using a website version of OverDrive you can also use a range of easy-to-use apps.
  • GridClub – set them loose on this huge website with over 500 fun educational activities. Covering activities for children aged 5-12 years you’ll find lots of material on English, but also maths, science, history, languages, geography, health, art, music and more.
  • Spellzone – provides a full online course to improve your grammar and spelling and is suitable for ages 10 and above. Spellzone can also support pupils who are dyslexic or for whom English isn’t their first language.

If they need some support with maths as well get the best online help from –

  •  Mathletics – access the world’s most used mathematics website covering all aspects of maths with 1000 different learning activities for students aged 5 up to adults. Register your child at their Scottish school level so they are getting work at exactly the right level for them. As well as a huge variety of fun but educational maths activities, learners can also compete against others from all over the world in live maths games of speed and skills.

Gaelic songs and rhymes for under fives

Rannagan na chloinne: Seinn comhla rinn!

Sing with us at our Gaelic song and rhyme times for under fives at Blackhall and Leith Libraries.

The sessions take place at the following dates and times:

bookbug gaelic
Thursday 28th April, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Leith Library

Saturday 30th April, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 12th May, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Blackhall Library

Saturday 14th May, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Saturday 21st May, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 26th May, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Leith Library

Saturday 4th June, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 9th June, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Blackhall Library

Saturday 11th June, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 23rd June, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Leith Library

Saturday 25th June, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 7th july, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Blackhall Library