Free Printables and Story Resources

Storytime magazine, free printables, Golden Goose, teaching resources, lesson ideas, downloadsWe love publishing a children’s story magazine, but we don’t stop there. We believe that stories are powerful tools for extending learning and for inspiring play, which is why every Storytime issue comes with suggestions for activities, puzzles, games and story-themed free printables, ranging from masks and finger puppets to colouring and game counters. With every issue of Storytime, we hope to give our readers a richer and more fun story experience – something beyond reading.

For schools who subscribe to Storytime, we also choose a story from each issue and put together a focused teaching resource pack, filled with lesson ideas, ranging from literacy and maths to science and art. Each pack comes with comprehension and writing activities too, to help children understand the bones of a story and become confident storytellers in their own right.

To demonstrate how rewarding extending on your reading sessions can be, in this week’s blog, we’re making our latest free printable Golden Goose Pack (usually only emailed to schools, home educators and libraries) widely available to all our readers. You can download it here: Free Golden Goose Pack.

We’re also sharing some simple ideas on how to get the most from this classic fairy tale in a fun and educational way. We hope it inspires you!

Goosing Around with our Golden Goose Free Printables

  1. First, read the Golden Goose story. If you don’t have Storytime Issue 33 already, you can get hold of it in our back issue shop.
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    There’s so much to see in Olga Demidova’s brilliant illustrations for The Golden Goose.

  3. Start off with the activities in our magazine. Complete the counting puzzle and find the golden feathers in our wonderfully detailed centrespread illustration by Olga Demidova. You can extend on this by adding more ‘spot it’ and ‘count it’ challenges. How many houses are there? How many people are wearing hats? Can you spot two round windows? What about the white dog?
  4. Now download our free printable Golden Goose masks and act out the story. We’ve got a goose, Fritz and the three sisters. We have more printable masks if you need to add more characters to the goosey line-up, including Hercules, Merlin, King Arthur, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, a giant, Goldilocks, and Snow White. They can all stand in for other characters. They’re available to download here.
  5. Invent new characters to join the goose parade. In the Golden Goose, there are stallholders, a fishmonger, a circus performer, and a royal official. Who else might you bump into a bustling city? Write a list.
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    Read the story then go golden goose-spotting!

  7. Download our free Golden Goose teaching resource pack. It has loads of lesson ideas, but also story sequencing, storyboards, creative writing prompts, puzzles, maths, map-making, feather crafts, colouring and drawing!
  8. Our pack also comes with a Goose Factsheet, so you can read the story then get outdoors and do some goose spotting. At this time of year, you might even spot your own little golden geese in the form of Canada Geese goslings, which have wonderful yellow feathers. This is a great way to bring the story to life and conclude your story session.

Sharing a story with a child is a very precious thing, but delving into it even further can give your child’s learning and literacy a positive boost – at home as well as in the classroom.

If you enjoy our Golden Goose pack, we have other free printables available to download on our Storytime for Schools website, including packs to help you create your own fairy tales, fables, myths, legends, poetry and even your own magazine. Check them out here.

Plus, don’t forget our usual free printables page. This month, we have a brilliant Alphabet Zoo factsheet and activity pack, and a bonus pack for our wonderful leopard story. It’s a truly enjoyable way to learn!

If you’re a school and are interested in subscribing or want to know more about Storytime and our free resource packs, please drop us a line at hello@storytimemagazine.com – we’d love to hear from you!

 

Hope you all have some good goosey fun over half term!
 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Writer Interview: Beatriz Poyton

storytime magazine, kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids, best bedtime stories for kids, animal stories for kidsWhen we opened Storytime for submissions from contributing writers last year, we had one clear objective – to find good stories that would inspire brilliant illustrations. We didn’t care who a writer was or where they came from or what they had done before. In fact, we always make a point of ignoring the email body copy and reading the attachment first. If a story is good, then we go back and find out more. But the story must always comes first.

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Beatriz with her published story in Storytime Issue 33, with illustrations by Junior Caramez

So, it was quite a surprise when we read The Leopard that Lost her Spots, liked it, and then discovered that it had been submitted by a 12-year-old girl. What we saw in Beatriz Poyton’s story was originality, charm and potential, so together, over the course of a few months, we moulded the story into something we all felt was absolutely right for Storytime.

Now we know Beatriz better, it isn’t surprising at all that she has been published in Storytime (Issue 33, out now). Beatriz, now 13, is an avid reader, literacy ambassador for her school, book club organiser, and soon-to-be blogger. She is wonderfully inspiring and it’s well worth reading her writer interview. No matter what your age, background or experience of writing, you might just pick up some tips from her about enthusiasm, commitment and passion.

Beatriz can also teach us all a thing or two about resilience in the face of rejection. She has submitted her work to editors and literary agents and, instead of feeling beaten when rejected, she has taken their advice on board, and viewed rejection as an opportunity to improve upon her work.

Q&A with Beatriz Poyton

 

1. Beatriz, when did you start writing and what inspired you to get started?

I have been writing ever since I can remember. It has always opened up a new world for all my ideas, emotions and fears. I love reading and wanted others to read more, so I thought I could help by writing stories that make people want to read more.

2. What is your favourite book or author and why?

I haven’t got a favourite author, as I like to try new books. However, my favourite recent read is Looking Glass Girl by Cathy Cassidy. It’s a modern take on Alice in Wonderland, and mixes emotions, adventure and twists on a journey that drags your heart all the way through to the end. I LOVE books that create tension like this one.

3. How did you come up with the idea for your leopard story?

I can’t quite remember what inspired my Leopard story. I think I was obsessed with animals and had been reading a lot of Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling and Aesop’s fables, so wanted to write a story like that.


(Editor’s note: One of the things I liked about Beatriz’s story was how it turned those Just So-style tropes on their heads – how the camel got his hump etc – and looked at what might happen in reverse.)

4. What does your role as a literacy ambassador in your school involve?

Being a literacy ambassador for my school allows me to raise awareness of reading and encourage more pupils to read at home. Last year, my friends and I started a Reading Book Club, where we did games and activities based on books we were reading as a group.

5. What advice would you give to young people who want to be writers?

I have two pieces of advice for young writers – my first is to write something you love. If you don’t enjoy your writing subject then the story won’t have as much feeling.

My second piece of advice is: NEVER GIVE UP! Giving up means you have let something great go. Everything can be improved, so keep going, and one day you’ll write something amazing.

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OUP Children’s Classic’s Champion, Beatriz Poyton.

6. Is there anything else you do that’s linked to your love of reading?

I love helping in bookshops! It lets you advise people on amazing books. I was lucky enough to help at my friend’s bookshop, Mostly Books in Abingdon, at some great events. My favourite of these was the Independent Bookshop Week Author Takeover, when authors Paula Harrison, Fleur Hitchcock and Helen Peters came in and ran the shop for a day. I helped with making tea, selling books and even on the till. Another great event was when I helped at the launch of David Melling’s picture book Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake last summer, where I helped children with crafts, made shelf displays and took photographs. It was great fun.

I was also lucky enough to win a review competition for Oxford University Press and became one of their Children’s Classic’s Champions. I got my review and recommended reading list printed in their new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz! It was great to see my name in print and to think that maybe my recommended books would inspire other children to read something new!

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Beatriz reading her published story for the first time in Storytime Issue 33!


7. Did you learn anything from the process of working with Storytime?

Working with Storytime allowed me to see that there is always room for improvement, and when I make a mistake my editor is always there to support me. I was surprised that editing could be fun because at first I thought that it would be long and not exciting, but I really enjoyed it.

8. What you would like to do when you leave school?

I want to be an editor and an author as well. This is because I want to see both sides of the scene and bring really good stories to print, by me and other writers too. Other writers I admire have done this, like Robin Stevens who wrote the Murder Most Unladylike books, while editing other people’s books for a publisher.

9. What’s the best thing about seeing your work published?

It is really exciting, but my favourite thing is that I can look back at all the work I did to reach my goal, and think, “I have made it, how good is that?!” And then “I can’t wait to write something new!” These happy thoughts make my day, and I am so pleased that my story is published. I am also amazed by the illustrations by Junior Caramez, they are brilliant!

 

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See Beatriz read her story on Saturday 20 May!

Beatriz will be reading her story, The Leopard that Lost her Spots, at her local library in Beaconsfield on Saturday 20 May at 10.30am. Do go along and support her if you are local to the area. She will also be giving talks in two local primary schools about her writing. Plus, you can download fun and free Leopard Activity Sheets we created to complement Beatriz’s story.

As I said, a pleasure to work with and a real inspiration – I am sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from Beatriz in future.

Be inspired this week,

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Storytime Issue 33 Is Out Now!

Story time Issue 33, kids magazine subscriptions, best bedtime stories for kids, magazine subscriptions for kids, golden gooseNew issue week is always hugely exciting in the Storytime studio. We finally get to see the fruits of our labour – months of research, planning, writing, editing, proofing, commissioning, designing and general tinkering. But it’s when our magazine also lands with the most important people of all – our amazing readers – and we hope you’ll all enjoy Storytime Issue 33 and our most glittering cover yet!

Our latest issue of Storytime features The Golden Goose, a classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, which is a great chain tale with lots of interesting lessons and it’s huge fun to read aloud. The sparkly cover and story illustrations are by the brilliant Olga Demidova.

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Flamingos fandango in Alphabet Zoo, Storytime Issue 33, with art by Tim Budgen,

Our regular poetry series Alphabet Zoo returns, this time with adorable fennec foxes, flamingos doing the fandango and the fossa… now there’s an interesting beast. Art comes courtesy of our regular Alphabet Zoo illustrator, Tim Budgen. We hope he approves of our very special Alphabet Zoo-inspired Flamingo Bingo in the back of the issue!

Half a Blanket is a sweet Irish folk tale, as old as the hills, about familial loyalty and love. It might bring a tear to your eye at the end and, at the very least, it should make you want to read stories under a blanket. Our favourite activity! The lovely illustrations for this are by Rosario Battiloro.

Next up, The Dancing Monkeys – a funny fable, inspired by Aesop, which is sure to keep young readers entertained. It’s illustrated by Zhanna Mendel. Zhanna’s an old hand at Storytime fables now, as she also illustrated The Crab Walk for us in Storytime Issue 24.

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The Romulus and Remus myth, retold for children and illustrated by Emilio Darlun.

For lovers of heroes and heroines, we have Romulus and Remus, an ancient myth about the origins of the city of Rome, with glorious golden eagles, a pink wolf and incredible details by illustrator Emilio Darlun.

It’s been a while since we featured a nursery rhyme, so we’re pleased to have Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son in this issue. Like all good rhymes, it’s full of energy, has a little bit of silliness and it’s perfect for singing or even dancing along to. The colourful illustrations are by Genie Espinosa.

The Frog and the Condor is a story from Peru. Condors aren’t the prettiest of birds and this one is a real baddie, kidnapping a llama keeper (llamherdess?) called Morning Star. The unexpected hero of this story is a little frog who lacks confidence. Weird and wonderful illustrations are provided by Sebastian Baculea.

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A lovely leopard story by Beatriz Poyton, illustrated by Junior Caramez

Last, but by no means least in Storytime Issue 33, is a brand new story called The Leopard that Lost her Spots by Beatriz Poyton. Not only is it a great tale with amazing illustrations from Junior Caramez, but Beatriz was just 12 years old when she submitted it. I’m going to blog about Beatriz next week, so do come back and read it. She is an inspiration.

As ever, we hope you enjoy sharing the stories and rhymes in Storytime Issue 33 at home or in the classroom – or wherever the mood takes you!

If you’re a teacher, librarian or home educator, look out for your free resource pack, which should be landing soon. It’s all about The Golden Goose.

If you’re a home subscriber, do check out our latest Alphabet Zoo activity pack and factsheet, which is designed around the animals in Storytime Issue 33, plus there are more free downloads here! We’re adding new printables all the time.

If you don’t subscribe already, you have no idea how many great stories, illustrations and activities your kids are missing! But, never fear, it’s easy to become part of the Storytime gang. In fact, it only takes a few moments to subscribe!

 

Wishing you a month of happy storytimes,

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

5 Reading Styles That Work

kids magazine subscriptions, reading styles, magazine subscriptions for kids, best kids magazines, best bedtime stories for kids, teaching children to read,Does your child hate bedtime stories? The traditional way to share stories with your children is to sit beside them, book perched on your lap – maybe open across both of your laps – and to read aloud. You put on your best funny voices (or not). You point at key words and pictures. You speed up and slow down in all the right places. (We’ve covered traditional reading techniques here.)

But what if the traditional way isn’t working? What if it isn’t holding your child’s attention and, instead of the magical ‘together time’ you’d hoped for, you have a bored and wriggling audience? For some children, being read aloud to – no matter how good you think the story is – can be a monotonous experience. It can feel too passive for an active young mind.

If this is the case, don’t worry and certainly don’t give up, there are other reading styles that might be the key to engaging your child (or children in your class) with reading. In fact, these different reading styles might also help your child develop a lifelong love of stories and books.

At your next Storytime session, why not have a go at these alternative reading styles?

5 Reading Styles to Try Today

 

1. Fill-in-the-Gaps Reading
This technique works best one-to-one. Simply read aloud as you usually do, but stop every now and again, and ask your child to read out a single word. Start with words you know they’re familiar with to build confidence, before asking them to ‘fill in’ more challenging words or even a few words at a time. Make sure your child feels like they’re helping you to read, rather than being put on the spot. Feeling ‘picked on’ can put them off reading entirely, which is why this technique can be a risky strategy to use in school.

2. Take-it-in-Turns Reading
Reading a book together can be just that, and this reading style works particularly well with more confident readers. Some experts call it ‘see-saw reading’, but the general idea is that you take it in turns to read out sections of a story. You can read alternate sentences, paragraphs or even pages – whatever works best for you. It’s an effective way to keep your audience engaged as they know that their turn is coming soon.

3. Echo Reading
This can take some getting used to and it certainly isn’t for every bedtime story. You’ll also need to ensure you allow enough time for it. The idea is that you read a sentence, and your child reads the same sentence back to you. It might sound repetitive but, by following your lead, your child will unknowingly pick up loads of tips from you on pacing, pronunciation and where to place stress in a sentence. It’s actually a really valuable technique for improving literacy and oracy (that much-overlooked ability to express yourself fluently) and works both at home and in school.

4. Choral Reading
This truly is reading together. Essentially, you read aloud and your child reads along with you at the same time. It’s a lot easier to do with rhymes, short stories and picture books that your child knows and loves. In fact, you probably already do it with fairy tales that have lots of repetition in them (we wrote about the value of repetition in stories here). You don’t have to choral read for a whole story or book, but it’s definitely worth a try for short sections at a time, and it can really help engage young readers and improve pronunciation and reading skills.

5. Picture Reading
This is an interesting and fun approach to try. Ask your child to guess at how a story unfolds simply by looking at the pictures. Use some question prompts to help them along, such as “Who do you think the hero is?”, “Who’s the baddie?”, “What problem does he or she have to solve?”, “What’s happening in this picture?”, “How does it end?”. When your child has finished their picture-only version, read the story together and compare how close it was to the printed version. It’s a sure-fire way to get them engaged with the text.

 

Parents may also have heard of ‘guided reading’. It’s used in UK schools, where teachers divide children into small groups according to their ability and ask them to decode and understand a text they are reading together. (Rachel Clarke, at Primary Education, has some great advice on guided reading for teachers.)

Previously, we’ve also explored another effective reading style called ‘shared reading’, which you can try at home. Find out more about it here.

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Reward good reading with a Storytime certificate!

A passion for getting kids into reading means that educators are always coming up with new reading styles, and there are no hard-and-fast rules on how to carry out them out. You can even try a couple of reading styles in a single Storytime session, or chop and change to suit the mood of your audience.

The most important message is to not give up because reading aloud isn’t working for you – there are always other things you can try. (And, if you want to reward a good reading effort, we have free certificates to download here.)

Let us know if you try any of the different reading styles listed above – and whether they work for you and your child. Or perhaps you have your own reading style that works? We’d love to hear about it. You can get in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or the old-fashioned way!

Before I go, I must give credit to illustrator Rachael Saunders, who created the wonderful circus scene above for Storytime Issue 17.

 

Enjoy reading stories together this week – that’s the most important thing of all!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

The Real Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood, Storytime Magazine, Storytime, Best Bedtime Stories, Kids Magazine Subscriptions,One of the great pleasures of Storytime magazine is getting the opportunity to dive headfirst into stories and explore their origins. This is especially true of fairy tales, and Little Red Riding Hood was no exception.

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Little Red Riding Hood from Storytime Issue 9, illustrated by Christelle Galloux

We featured the most classically recognised version of Little Red Riding Hood back in Storytime Issue 9, with wonderful illustrations by Christelle Galloux. (You can still download our adorable Little Red Riding Hood Mask here.) The story is a family favourite and should be in everyone’s fairy tale collection.

But the version that interested me most when researching the original was written in the 1800s by a French author called Charles Marelles. In his version, the main character’s red riding hood was replaced with a golden one. Not only that, but it had a real purpose in the story other than looking iconic in illustrations. Even better, the main character had a name and a super-cool granny, and there was no male hero to suddenly swoop in and save them at the last minute. I actually think Little Golden Hood is far better and smarter than the ‘original’. It takes all the best-loved bits – particularly the lines children love to read along with – and improves on the source material.

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Little Golden Hood and the wolf, in Storytime Issue 32, illustrated by Martuka.

For these reasons, I was really excited to put Little Golden Hood in our latest issue, Storytime 32, and we’re thrilled with the gorgeous illustrations by Martuka, who previously created our Little Mermaid cover for Storytime Issue 24.

But for Little Red Riding Hood lovers, I thought I’d share 5 fun facts about this favourite fairy tale character that I’ve gathered along the way. Enjoy!

5 Fun Facts about Little Red Riding Hood

 

1. This famous fairy tale existed for hundreds of years and across many cultures before it was recorded as a moral ‘stranger danger’ tale by 17th century French author, Charles Perrault. In his terrifying version, Little Red Riding Hood gets into bed with the wolf before he devours her. She doesn’t escape.

2. The French title of Perrault’s story is Le Petit Chaperon Rouge. A chaperon started life as a hooded cape, but evolved into an elaborate and fashionable hat crafted from sumptuous materials like velvet or silk and was worn mainly by men. By the time of this story it had fallen out of fashion and, in a painting from roughly the same period, it looks a bit like a nun’s wimple.

3. In earlier versions from rural France and Italy, the tale was called The Story of Grandmother. There was no red hood and the wolf was actually a werewolf (or, in some versions, an ogre). The little girl has to choose between paths of pins or needles to reach her granny’s house and, when she gets there, granny has been eaten. It’s a pretty gruesome tale, but with an interesting ending – the little girl escapes using her own wit.

4. Far Eastern folklore has its own version of Little Red Riding Hood called Grand Aunt Tiger or Tiger Grandma, but folklorists are now convinced that the story has its roots in the West and was around as long ago as the first century. Folk tale nerds can find out more here.

5. By the time the Brothers Grimm tackled the tale in the 19th century, the red hood had become a cap and the huntsman who saved the day was introduced, cutting open the wolf and freeing his victims with a pair of scissors. As if that wasn’t enough, Little Red Cap fills the wolf’s tummy with heavy rocks to be certain that he dies. Clearly, revenge is best served in a completely over-the-top way!

 

If you enjoy reading Storytime’s Little Golden Hood, there are many books out there that put a completely new twist on this classic tale and are worth exploring too. For starters, try Alex T. Smith’s witty and wonderful Little Red and the Hungry Lion, sweet and funny Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy and Sue Heap, and the wonderfully graphic Little Red by Bethan Woollvin.

I’d love to hear what you think of our Little Golden Hood version – could it ever replace the ‘original’ or are we just too attached to that iconic red hood? And how do you feel about new twists on classic fairy tales – love or loathe? Let me know on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and even Youtube, where we post sneak previews of our new issues. Like a good story, we get around!

See you next time for more story ponderings,

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Children’s Poetry Winner!

storytime magazine, children's poetry, seahorses, magazine subscriptions for kidsIn September 2016, to celebrate Storytime’s second anniversary, we ran a children’s poetry competition, encouraging kids everywhere to write a short poem about an animal – real or imaginary. The prize was a bundle of poetry books and having your poem illustrated and published in Storytime magazine.

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Bryn with his prize-winning poem, The Seahorses

It must have seemed a long wait for the winner but, at last, Storytime Issue 32 came out last week featuring the prize poem: The Seahorses by nine-year-old Bryn Patel Stephens from Leamington Spa in the UK. Here he is, on the right, looking very pleased to have his poetry in print. Deservedly so!

We had no idea when we opened the competition how overwhelming and enthusiastic the response would be and, by the closing date in October, we had received thousands of entries from individual children and schools all over the world – from Bangalore to Singapore, Australia to Canada, Germany to Botswana and, of course, the UK, where we are based.

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Some of the thousands of children’s poetry entries we received!

It was with the greatest of pleasure that we sat surrounded by piles and piles of children’s poetry and read our way through many excellent entries, finally whittling them down to a shortlist of ten. In the end, it was our judge – highly esteemed and utterly brilliant children’s poet, Brian Moses – who helped us pick the winner.

What was is it about Bryn’s poem that made it the winning entry? Bryn had conjured up such lovely imagery in his description of a ‘constellation of seahorses’ that we could visualise it long before we’d even found the perfect illustrator, Marina Perez.

 

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Bryn’s original entry. Spot the silvery seahorse constellation on the right!

Bryn’s mum, Damyanti, told us that Bryn had gone to great trouble to think up the right kind of adjectives for his poem, and it shows. What also helped was the originality of the subject – Bryn was the only poet to write about seahorses, which made his poem stand out among many cats, dogs, tigers and a fair few unicorns! But, ultimately, Bryn had written a great poem with beautiful descriptions, which were a joy to read and work with.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him and all of the amazing schools around the world who took part, as well as the inspiring parents who encouraged their children to send in their entries. We truly appreciate the effort.

I’d also like to praise the shortlisted entries who made our children’s poetry competition such a delight to be involved in, though rather tricky to judge! Each shortlisted entry received a special commendation certificate, which they thoroughly deserved and I hope made them feel proud of their work. In the shortlist, we had monarch butterflies, lions, dragons, dolphins, a mysterious pet, a yaku, a snurkle and even a catasaurusrex. Such brilliant imaginations!

For our third anniversary competition in September 2017, we have another competition coming up – this time celebrating a different area of creativity. I can’t reveal what it is right now, but I already feel certain that we’ll get some amazing entries. We’ll update you here on the Storytime blog as soon as we can.

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Download our free Children’s Poetry Pack and get inspired!

If you missed our children’s poetry competition and want to have some fun making up poems in the classroom or at home, download our free Children’s Poetry Pack, which covers lots of different poetry styles and is crammed with ideas and activities to get you started in an easy and accessible way.

We think children’s poetry is not only brilliant fun, but an important gateway to falling in love with language. One of the reasons we have two poems in every issue of Storytime. We hope Bryn’s poem inspires you to have a go!

 

Until next time,

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Storytime Issue 32 Is Out Now!

kids magazine subscriptions, Storytime Issue 32, Storytime 32, Pegasus, greek myths for kids, bedtime stories, storytime magazineWhat’s that soaring through the sky? It’s Storytime Issue 32, and it will be landing with UK subscribers this week, and with international subscribers very soon. It’s a landmark issue in that it’s the first time we’ve ever had a myth or legend leading our cover art. In these unicorn-obsessed times, we thought it was fitting that we reminded everyone of the original and the best flying horse… amazing Pegasus!

With magical illustrations by El Gunto, we hope we’ve done Pegasus the Winged Horse and his sidekick Bellerophon justice. It’s a great Greek myth for kids with a memorable three-headed monster, so we hope you enjoy it.

School subscribers will also receive our fantastic Pegasus lesson plan and resource pack with lots of themed activities to try out in class. If you’re interested, find out more on our Schools site.

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The Seahorses by Bryn Patel Stephen, aged 9. Illustrated by Marina Perez.

Another highlight of the issue is our prize-winning poem The Seahorses by nine-year-old Bryn Patel Stephens. Bryn entered our Poetry Competition in September 2016 and was selected as the winner by the Storytime team and esteemed children’s poet Brian Moses. It’s a stunning poem with stunning illustrations to match by Marina Pérez

A story guaranteed to make you laugh is Stanley and the Rampaging Robot by first-time author Stan Byford. Stan grew up building model robots and spaceships, but now makes websites for a living. In his spare time, he invents stories for his son Stanley – and this was one of them. It involves a trip to Mars, an out-of-control robot and jam sandwiches, and we think you’ll love it. As Stan says, “the illustrations by Marko Renko are amazing and have brought the whole story to life.”

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Little Golden Hood gets the better of the wolf. Illustration by Martuka.

If you think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood, think again. Little Golden Hood and her granny give the wolf what he deserves in this alternative version with roots in the mid 1800s. We were delighted to work with the super-talented Martuka again on this, who illustrated our wonderful Little Mermaid cover last summer. (Pick it up from our Back Issue Shop.)

Storytime fans will know that we can’t resist a funny fable and The Cockerel and the Diamond is no exception, and this one has the added bonus of being set on a farmyard, which should please our little readers. Chickens with attitude come courtesy of illustrator Giovanni Abeille.

No Storytime issue is complete without a trip to Alphabet Zoo and we’re joining Bonnie and Boo for a trip to see animals beginning with the letters D and E, including a rather cheeky elephant. Tim Budgen is our resident illustrator/head zookeeper and you must download our free Alphabet Zoo Factsheet and Activity Packs too, which come with gorgeous animal alphabet posters to collect.

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Moscione and friends, illustrated by Tomasz Plaskowski.

This month’s folktale is called Moscione the Fool. Our hero Moscione makes some pretty cool friends on his adventure: Lightning, Quick-Ear, Shoot-Straight and Strong-Back and, with their help, he outwits a king! Hopefully, it should make you reconsider the word ‘fool’. The gorgeous illustrations that accompany this story are by Tomasz Plaskowski.

Finally, our Around the World Tale in Storytime Issue 32 is The Sky Brothers Bring Fire, an Aboriginal myth about the origin of fire. Almost very culture has its own myth about how fire began, so why not use this story as a starting point for exploring more fire myths? Our cute koalas and kangaroos in this story are illustrated by Caroline Attia.

 

There you have it, packed to the hilt with stories, as ever, and we’ve even squeezed in drawing, puzzles, book recommendations, a competition and an awesome monster-making game!

Want to flick through the whole issue? Get a sneak peek here on our YouTube Channel!

We wish you a month of brilliant bedtime stories. We’d love to hear your favourites in Storytime Issue 32 – and why – and what stories you’d like to see in future Storytime issues too. Let me know on Twitter or Facebook and we’re also now on Instagram – so come and say hello!

 

Happy reading all!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Easter Stories for Kids

easter stories for kids, storytime magazine, best stories for kids, kids magazine subscriptionsEaster means different things to different people. Whatever you may think of it, for most children in the Western world – even those with religious beliefs – it has come to mean chocolate. We’re all for a bit of chocolate in the Storytime studio, but if you feel like getting away from the gluttony, then why not use the break as an excuse to share some of our favourite Easter stories for kids?

We’ve picked out some of the best from Storytime, so why not have a flick through your back issues and hold your very own Easter-themed story session? Our selection features chocolate, chickens and bunnies aplenty – with some spring flowers thrown in for good measure.

10 Easter Stories for Kids

easter stories for kids, storytime, magazines for kids, best stories for kids, kids magazine subscriptions1. Augustus Gloop’s song from Storytime Issue 2. Greedy Gloop gets what he deserves! If this extract gives you a taste for more, you can always tuck into a full serving of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Surely the perfect read for Easter Sunday?

2. How Rabbit Got Long Ears from Storytime Issue 3. Kids love this Native American tale of how the mischievous rabbit ends up with long ears, and it’s always good to open their minds to stories from different cultures.

3. Persephone and the Seasons from Storytime issue 5. A fantastic Greek myth about how the seasons came to be, with stunning springtime illustrations. A great starting point for discussing the seasons and we have an activity sheet to download too.

4. The Velveteen Rabbit from Storytime issue 9. Our extract of this classic story by Marjery Williams not only features the world’s most adorable rabbit, it will make you completely nostalgic for childhood and give you a new appreciation for your child’s own bond with their toys.

storytime magazine, easter stories for kids, kids magazine subscriptions5. Hans the Rabbit Herder from Storytime issue 12. This Grimm brothers tale is sheer good fun and sees Hans win the hand of a princess through a little good luck, determination, quick wit and a hundred hopping rabbits.

6. Dolly Daydream from Storytime issue 18. Dolly’s dreams of cute chicks, chickens and eggs go a little bit wrong in this funny fable. Kids will adore the colourful illustrations in this story.

7. Henny Penny from Storytime issue 19. Also known as Chicken Licken, this story has so much going for it – vibrant and eye-catching illustrations, repetition (which is a secret weapon in helping kids to fall in love with reading – learn about it here), funny names and loads of humour.

easter stories for kids, storytime magazine, best bedtime stories, kids magazine subscriptions8. Brer Rabbit from Storytime issue 19. This trickster is hugely popular for his mischief-making in American folklore and is just as well loved on this side of the pond. Find out how he tricks Brer Fox and Brer Bear in this well-loved but little-told tale.

9. Daffodils from Storytime issue 31. Daffodils are the ultimate icon of spring and Easter, so what better poem to share at this time of the year than William Wordsworth’s homage to this happy flower? Our extract from this famous poem is ideal for learning off by heart, if you feel like showing off after Easter lunch!

10. The Cockerel and the Diamond from Storytime issue 32. Technically it’s not out until next week, but never fear subcribers, this issue will be with UK subscribers in time for Easter and features a funny fable starring a rather silly cockerel. You’ll have to read it to see what he cock-a-doodle-does!

 

If you don’t have all of the issues listed above, you can pick up individual copies from our Back Issue Shop here.

Compiling this list has made me realise that we’re missing lambs from our Easter stories for kids. I’ll add this to our list and try to get a brilliant lamb story into a future Storytime edition for you. I can also reveal that Ugly Duckling is coming… but I won’t say when.

And I think it’s definitely time we had another chocolate-based story. Or, perhaps, just chocolate. Hmmm… must dash, there’s a Lindt bar somewhere around here with my name on it.

Happy Easter everyone – and happy story reading!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Norse Myths for Kids

norse myths for kids, thor, storytime, kids magazine subscriptions, best magazines for kidsWhen I was growing up, Norse myths were one of my absolute favourite reads. We had an old, old book with a battered cover and dog-eared pages. In the front, there was a detailed drawing of the mythical tree, Yggdrasil, which I used to study intensely. The idea of a tree connecting different worlds boggled my mind – it was like a much cooler version of Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. As a kid, I couldn’t resist climbing trees, hoping they’d lead somewhere exciting. To this day, I can’t walk past an impressive ancient tree without naming it Yggdrasil.

Not just that, but as an early lover of language and its origins, I was fascinated by the idea that these supposedly mythical Norse gods once had enough influence to lend their names to days of the week: Odin (or Woden in Old English) for Wednesday, Thor for Thursday, and Freyja for Friday.

Add to this the humour and cleverness in the original Norse myths, especially from the mischievous trickster Loki (read more about cool tricksters here), and I was won over. My only regret is that the female characters don’t have more starring roles.

Norse Myths in Storytime

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Thor in his wedding gown on the left in Storytime Issue 3! Art by Pauliina Hannuniemi.

So far in Storytime, we’ve featured several Norse myths, including two Thor stories. Back in Issue 3, one of my favourites, Thor’s Stolen Hammer – in which Thor is tricked by Loki into cross-dressing to retrieve his hammer from the giants. And in our latest issue, Storytime 31, Thor ends up duelling with a giant with a stone skull. Odin also makes an appearance on an eight-legged horse. An eight-legged horse, I tell you! I was pleased to see that Marvel put this in their second Thor film.

I suppose that brings me to the point of this blog. I hope that Marvel’s Thor films are encouraging more kids to read and enjoy Norse myths. I really do, because it would be a shame if all their knowledge of Thor and his crazy cohorts was limited to what they saw in the movies – as enjoyable as they can be.

Sometimes, you just can’t beat a good story in written form, and we’ll keep putting Norse myths in Storytime, because they deserve a place in our magazine.

We always put a few fun facts and activities in our Myths and Legends section too, but I thought I’d put a few extra Thor facts here for you to share with your kids. Maybe it will entice them to really get into Norse myths.

5 Fun Facts about Thor

Norse myths for kids, Thor, Storytime magazine, magazine subscriptions for kids, best bedtime stories

Awesome art here and top by Tim Paul for Thor’s Duel in Storytime Issue 31!

1. Thor had loads of other names, including Atli, which meant ‘the terrible’; Ennilang, meaning ‘the one with the wide forehead’ and, coolest of all, Vingthor – or ‘Battle Thor’!

2. It’s not just Thor’s hammer that has power. Thor also has a special belt, which doubles his strength, and iron gloves, which he has to wear to handle his hammer.

3. His favourite form of transport was edible! He got around in a chariot pulled by two goats called ‘Teeth-snarler’ and ‘Teeth-grinder’. Every now and again, if he got hungry, he would eat the goats and then bring them back to life.

4. Thor started a fashion craze – hammer pendants were the ‘in thing’ among the Vikings, who loved their Norse gods.

5. Thor’s house was the biggest one ever built in Asgard and had 540 rooms! He lived there with his wife Sif and his daughter, Thrud (‘Strength’). He also has two sons called Modi (‘Brave’) and Magni (‘Strong’). There’s a definite theme here…

I reckon a good place to share these facts might be in the middle of the woods, when you’ve found a particularly fine Yggdrasil tree to climb.

 

If you’ve already got a passion for Norse myths (or myths from any culture), you might want to download our free Myths and Legends Resource Pack, which has loads of great activities and interesting information about myths, legends, gods, heroes and monsters. A grand way to spend time over the holidays.

 

Have a great Thors-day and enjoy sharing the magic of Norse myths with your kids!

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Growth Mindset and Reading

Storytime magazine, bedtime stories for kids, kids magazine subscriptions, growth mindset and readingChances are that your child has come home from school in the last year or two talking about ‘growth mindset’. It’s a fairly new idea, though it seems to be based on a good dose of common sense, and the great news is that growth mindset and reading – or learning to read – are a match made in heaven.

Find out what a growth mindset actually is and how it could help your child to become a better and more confident reader.

What Is a Mindset?

The growth mindset idea was pioneered by US psychologist, Carol Dweck following decades of research. Dweck says that a mindset is something you firmly believe about yourself. For a child (or adult), this could be, “I’m good at reading”, “I’m bad at maths”, “I’m naughty”, or, even worse, “I’m stupid”.

Dweck believes that your mindset – whether you’re aware of it or not – has a profound effect on the way you learn throughout life.

Fixed vs Growth

Someone with a fixed mindset believes that they’re either good at something or they’re not. For instance, good at reading, or bad at maths. They’ll put all their failures and successes down to the talent they were born with and won’t naturally make any effort to develop their skills. You could sum it up as, “if you believe you can’t, you can’t.”

Someone with a growth mindset, however, believes that they can develop their skills, get better, and build on the talents they were born with. They’ll be more likely to challenge themselves and will view failures as a chance to learn and improve.

It’s possible to develop a growth mindset from a fixed one, and you can see how this would be far more beneficial to the school environment, and understand why so many teachers are talking about it right now.

Growth Mindset and Reading

One of the ways in which teachers are employing the growth mindset is in the feedback they give to their individual pupils. Instead of saying something is good (or not so good), they’ll praise the effort the pupil has put into working on it and relate that effort to the outcome.

This is something you can adopt at home. Here’s a simple example:

Fixed mindset encouragement: “Great reading.”

Growth mindset encouragement: “You worked so hard to pronounce all those tricky words and look how much better you read tonight and how much more you enjoyed it. Well done.”

The idea here is that your child will make a positive connection between putting in an effort and getting better at reading. From that, they’ll feel inspired and motivated to carry on. More importantly, they might feel more empowered by their own abilities, instead of being held back by a fixed mindset.

Some experts believe that giving growth mindset-style feedback to reluctant readers can be particularly effective. There are some useful and interesting growth mindset feedback examples here for all kinds of scenarios.

Stories for Growth Mindset

Aesop's fables, crow and pitcher, storytime magazine, best bedtime stories, magazine subscriptions for kids

Did the crow in this Aesop’s fable have a growth mindset? Illustration by Erica Salcedo.

Growth mindset is also about sharing good examples to inspire children, and stories can be a fantastic source. I’ve picked just a few from Storytime, which I believe feature positive growth mindset characters.

1. The Hare and the Tortoise (Storytime Issue 1)
You could describe this famous fable as a battle of fixed vs growth mindset. Instead of believing “I’m too slow to race”, the tortoise boldly takes on the challenge and puts itself forward. The tortoise demonstrates growth mindset. The hare, on the other hand, is so arrogant about its own speed, its own fixed mindset causes it to lose the race. “I’m fast, therefore I will win even if I take a nap”. This story is a great example of how growth mindset can bring surprising results.

2. The Mouse Merchant (Storytime Issue 8)
In this inspiring tale from India, a poor but determined boy, with no father and nothing more than a dead mouse to start his career, uses what he has to slowly and successfully build his own empire, one step at a time. A character with a brilliant growth mindset.

3. The Crow and the Pitcher (Storytime Issue 19)
You could also say the clever crow in this fable has a growth mindset. While all the other animals around it are bemoaning the lack of water and awaiting their own demise (“We will die if it doesn’t rain”), the crow seeks ways to survive the drought and comes up with an ingenious solution. It employs a growth mindset to avoid a grisly fate.

4. Moscione the Fool (Storytime Issue 32)
Coming up in our next issue is an old Italian folk tale about a lazy boy who is considered to be a fool. When he’s forced to go out in the world alone, however, he doesn’t let an “I’m stupid” fixed mindset get in his way – and he proves everybody wrong.

 

Like all psychological approaches to education, growth mindset has its doubters. Some are wary of how warmly it has been welcomed into schools and wonder whether it oversimplifies individual educational needs, but many argue that they’re seeing evidence of how well it is working.

If you have a struggling or reluctant reader, why not give it a try? Encourage and applaud effort, recognise achievement and give positive examples through stories, books and news articles. There’s even more to growth mindset than that (there are great resources here), but it’s a good start. And if it can help one child stop believing “I’m rubbish at reading”, then surely that’s a positive thing.

 

Food for thought! See you next time,

 

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)