O'Brien Reading Programme

O'Brien Reading Programme : Real Books for Primary Schools

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For many years now, teachers have been using our novels as the basis for their class reading material.

And, because of recent changes

to the curriculum, many others have approached us seeking advice on how best to introduce real books to their pupils.

As a result, we have produced a Reading Programme for Schools which offers detailed suggestions on how to use real books

in the classroom in a cross-curricular and integrated way. Written by primary teachers with long experience of

using real books, our

Programme offers you variety, and offers you choice. It puts you in charge and helps you to

Select real books for your classroom

Plan oral work for language classes

Plan cross-curricular work

Develop interesting and worthwhile extension work based on class reading material

An invaluable resource for all teachers who want to use real books in the classroom. A complete primary reading programme with detailed classroom notes (see below) on 64 books.

Why should I use this programme in my classroom?

Will it fulfil the requirements of the Primary School Curriculum, 1999?

What does the programme consist of?

How do I use this programme?

What about language development?

What about the increased emphasis on oral language?

How do I bring other subjects into my teaching of reading?

How do I know that this scheme works?

The books ... the authors ... where did they come from?

How will parents react to my using these books for my English Language Programme?

If I teach in a Gaelscoil, will I be able to use this programme?

Will my classroom improve as a result of using these books?

So where are the materials themselves?

Are any other materials available?

Why should I use this programme in my classroom?

These books enrich classroom reading and provide great opportunities for cross-curricular work. This approach to reading will hold the children's interest and develop their skills -- of understanding, interpretation, analysis, mental flexibility as well as teaching the basic skill of reading.

Will it fulfil the requirements of the Primary School Curriculum, 1999?

Yes. These books were written as fiction for young readers -- you will recognise many of them. Many have won awards. They have been acclaimed by distinguished reviewers. They were not written as textbooks nor as a panic reaction to changes in the curriculum. As well as a focus on English, there is work on Mathematics, SESE (which includes History, Geography and Science), Arts Education (Visual Arts, Music, Drama), Physical Education and SPHE. Oral language is given prime importance and all SPHE suggestions are language-based, as are most of the SESE ideas. The inspectors of the Department of Education encourage this approach in the classroom.

What does the programme consist of?

A selection of books for each class from Junior Infants to Sixth Class for the English language curriculum.

A selection of age-appropriate books for each class through the school year -- divided into AUTUMN/WINTER and spring/summer. Use all -- or pick and choose. At senior levels, from fourth class upwards, we include fewer books as classroom work will be more in-depth.

A range of classroom activities for each book.

At Fifth- and Sixth-class levels we also offer: O'Brien teaching Guides: Classroom work on eight novels for age 10+. The first of these additional resource books, which explore the novels at greater depth, is now available.

How do I use this programme?

The programme provides a structured set of books carefully chosen to tie in with curricular work in other subject areas. You could choose to follow this programme exactly as outlined, or select titles from it to suit your own teaching plans. Read the activities for each title and use some or all of them. Our programme is not intended to be over-prescriptive; it offers instead a pick-and-mix approach.

What about language development?

There are many opportunities for language development using this approach. Ideally, language exploration should be class-led, in other words the teaching follows the interests of a particular group of children. But there are plenty of suggestions here to get things underway. Remember, the vocabulary in these books is rich, the text is high quality, the characterisation has great depth. Children love these books, and this makes teaching and learning more pleasurable and rewarding. Using Real Books, children will engage actively with the text and will develop the skill of reflecting on what they are reading.

What about the increased emphasis on oral language?

Oral language activity is at the core of our programme. Oral development of comprehension skills will involve plenty of discussion and debate on each book, both text and illustrations (where appropriate). Through this work children will acquire a knowledge of the conventions of print and will be stimulated to establish cause and effect, to engage in prediction, and to make comparisons by reading, reflecting on and retelling these stories, which can readily be related to the children's own experience.

How do I bring other subjects into my teaching of reading?

This programme provides lots of suggestions for cross-curricular work, and these suggestions will spark off further ideas. Pupils' responses to a shared text can be stimulated in many ways - improvisation, mime, movement and imaginative activities involving visual art. The programme has a built-in flexibility which allows teachers to work to the strengths of their own class or group. The ideas suggested are broad enough to give plenty of scope for development and variation.

How do I know that this scheme works?

O'Brien books have been used in the classroom for years by teachers putting the Real Books approach into practice. The experience of these teachers has informed this set of suggestions and this programme has been compiled by them. They have found this approach to be more enriching and rewarding than any other approach to the teaching of reading.

The books ... the authors ... where did they come from?

We at the O'Brien Press have developed our books for children over the past twenty years. We have always looked for quality fiction and have given it time to grow. Over the years our books have gained the reputation as the best Irish collection of children's books. The Reading Association of Ireland, a body largely composed of teachers and linked with the International Reading Association, has awarded the following unique recognition to the O'Brien Press:

Special Merit Award from the Reading Association of Ireland. For exceptional care, skill and professionalism in publishing, resulting in a consistently high standard in all of the children's books published by the O'Brien Press. The books: Many of these books are Ireland's best-selling books for children. Many of them have been translated into several languages. This is an internationally recognised list of children's books. In choosing these books you are offering the very best to your children.

The authors are Ireland's best authors. Here you have: Marita Conlon-McKenna, Siobhan Parkinson, Gerard Whelan, Martin Waddell, Sam McBratney, Marilyn Taylor, Eoin Colfer, Brianog Brady Dawson, Frank Murphy ... and many more. But the list is not parochial - the O'Brien Press also has a policy of publishing occasional books from foreign authors and on international topics.

O'Brien books have won many awards, both Irish and international.

Reviews and criticism: Many reviews of our books are included in this programme. This offers you another opportunity to teach the children about the real world of books in which books are praised and criticised publicly in the press or on radio or television. You can mirror this activity in the classroom. See suggestions pages 53-59.

How will parents react to my using these books for my English Language Programme?

The use of Real Books is strongly encouraged by the Department of Education for the future. Many parents like to become involved in the reading activities of their children and we suggest that you involve them on a regular basis so that they too can see the advantages of providing children with Real Books.

If I teach in a Gaelscoil, will I be able to use this programme?

Of course. We have provided some cross-curricular activities with Irish language and you might develop this approach further to suit your own situation.

Will my classroom improve as a result of using these books?

Yes. The atmosphere will be improved because the books are interesting. Children should develop a stronger interest in books. You will have variety through the year as the books will change in tone, in content, in characterisation - and children thrive on variety. But you can also choose to follow characters in the books by opting for more books in various series.

This programme puts you in charge. It offers you choices.

So where are the materials?

Right here! You can view and print out the actual materials for all age levels by clicking on the book titles below. All the materials are presented as PDF files: if you do not already have a PDF viewer Adobe Acrobat, a free PDF file viewer, is available from Adobe.

Junior Infants:

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Little Piggies by Paul and Sally Morgan

Lazy Ozzie by Michael Coleman

Mr Bear to the Rescue by Debi Gliori

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

The Pig in the Pond by Martin Waddell

Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae

Mimi and the Picnic by Martin Waddell

Whose Ears?, Whose Nose? and Whose Feet? By Jeannette Rowe (only available online)

The Giraffe Who Came to Dinner by Patrice Aggs (only available online)

Senior Infants:

Come On, Daisy! by Jane Simmons

Sailor Bear by Martin Waddell

Mr Bear Babysits by Debi Gliori

Fred by Linda Jennings

Daisy and the Egg by Jane Simmons

Mr Bear's Picnic by Debi Gliori

Granny's Teeth by Brianog Brady-Dawson

Katie's Caterpillars by Stephanie Dagg

Daisy and the Beastie by Jane Simmons (only available online)

What Are Friends For? by Sally Grindley (only available online)

First Class:

Muckeen the Pig by Fergus Lyons

No Shoes for Tom! by Una Leavy

Going Potty by Eoin Colfer

Ribbit Ribbit! by Anne Marie Herron

Fireman Sinead! by Anna Donovan

Danny's Smelly Toothbrush by Brianog Brady-Dawson

Amy's Wonderful Nest by Gordon Snell

A Garden for Tom by Una Leavy

Sinead the Dancer by Anna Donovan

Granny Makes a Mess! by Brian g Brady-Dawson

Katie's Cake by Stephanie Dagg

Barry's New Bed by Una Leavy (only available online)

Danny's Sick Trick by Brianog Brady Dawson (only available online)

Spotty Sally by Anne Marie Herron (only available online)

Danny and Baby Do-It-All by Brianog Brady Dawson (only available online)

Second Class:

The Little Black Sheep by Elizabeth Shaw

Trouble for Tuffy by Ann Bermingham

The Bat Who Was All in a Flap by Don Conroy

The Big Fight by Frank Murphy

The King's Secret by Patricia Forde

The Lough Neagh Monster by Sam McBratney

Jimmy's Leprechaun Trap by Dan Kissane

The Leprechaun Who Wished He Wasn't by Siobhan Parkinson

Ed's Funny Feet by Eoin Colfer (only available online)

Jigsaw Stew by Conor McHale (only available online)

Third Class:

The Five Hundred by Eilis Dillon

Jimmy and the Banshee by Dan Kissane

Charlie Harte and his Two-Wheeled Tiger by Frank Murphy

The Great Pig Escape by Linda Monner

Albert and the Magician by Leon McAuley

The Fight for Plover Hill by Eilis Dillon (only available online)

Adam's Starling by Gillian Perdue (only available online)

Fourth Class:

Seven Spiders Spinning by Gregory Maguire

Juliet's Story by William Trevor

Star Dancer by Morgan Llywelyn

In Deep Dark Wood by Marita Conlon-McKenna

The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop

The House on the Shore by Eilis Dillon

Six Haunted Hairdos by Gregory Maguire (only available online)

The Eagle Tree by Dan Kissane (only available online)

Fifth Class:

Strongbow by Morgan Llywelyn

Amelia by Siobhan Parkinson

Brian Boru by Morgan Llywelyn

Under the Hawthorn Tree by Marita Conlon-McKenna

The Guns of Easter by Gerard Whelan

Four Kids, Three Cats, Two Cows, One Witch (Maybe) by Siobhan Parkinson

Cherokee by Creina Mansfield

The Moon King by Siobhan Parkinson

The Lost Orchard by Patrick Deeley (only available online)

The Island of Ghosts by Eilis Dillon (only available online)

Sixth Class:

Red Hugh by Deborah Lisson

Benny and Omar by Eoin Colfer

Benny and Babe by Eoin Colfer

No Peace for Amelia by Siobhan Parkinson

Faraway Home by Marilyn Taylor

A Winter of Spies by Gerard Whelan

Lockie and Dadge by Frank Murphy

Wildflower Girl by Marita Conlon-McKenna

Dark Secret by Frank Murphy (only available online)

Call of the Whales by Siobhan Parkinson (only available online)

Are any other materials available?

Yes. There is a large selection of activity sheets for use in the junior and middle school. Comprehensive unit-based teaching guides for fifth and sixth-class novels are available in our teaching guide collections.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 70 pages
  • 210 x 297mm | 212g
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • 0862786096
  • 9780862786090
  • 2,323,611

Review quote

'These titles are presented as an integrated, structured package, drawing on material appropriate to all ages from Junior Infants to Sixth Class, while emphasising the possibilities for individual choices by individual teachers.'
'It all amounts to an extremely attractively designed and presented publication which, while easily deserving a place in every primary classroom in the land, requires to be used with care and discrimination.' -- Robert Dunbar - Books Ireland * Books Ireland * 'Strongly based on the primary curriculum, this is an elaborate - and for teachers and even parents surely useful - showing of how books for young people from The O'Brien Press can be used in (and in support of) classroom work. Other publishers might raise their eyebrows at what is from some points of view a piece of publicity for GBP9, but they would have to admit that the confidence that allows this is based on the publisher's long-term and consistent commitment to producing good books that fulfil the varied requirements of everyone from infants to thirteen-plus and their no less admirable work in analysing and showing how these can be used with the curriculum - one cannot help but admire (and smile at) the way they identify features that can contibute to Irish language learning, geography, science, maths, physical education and other subjects. Other publishers could do the same on a smaller saale, but certainly none in Ireland could show such devotion, such authors, such a coverage of age groups and (we think particularly laudable) such a willingness to keep books in print and to put money and work into selling them.' -- Books Ireland * Books Ireland *
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