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When I was asked to write a photographic book, about a playbus I was once involved with, I decided I would need time to focus and to write. I therefore left full-time teaching and took on the role of supply/cover teacher. This would allow me to not only to concentrate on the writing journey but give me time to gather the information and photographs needed for the book.

I was advised by a colleague, who knew about supply teaching, that when covering a class work would be set but that I should have with me two books.

One to read to the younger children in Key Stage 1 and the second to read to older children. Try to make them different but perhaps with an additional back story, I was told.

After much thought I chose the following for the reasons given: -

Book one ‘Hoppameleon’ by Paul Geraghty.Hoppameleon

I love the illustrations and I bought the book when the author visited our school.

The book was chosen because in our house frogs say ‘Riddick, Riddick!’ Riddick being our family name and I always look out for frog tales.

The author had signed the book for my two children, Tom and Elly. Tom had just returned from a trip abroad and I would ask the classes what the author should have said when he wrote ‘I hop you enjoy the tale!’

Friends and BrothersThe second book is a chapter book

‘Friends and Brothers.’ by Dick-King Smith.

In ‘Friends and Brothers’, it starts with an argument and many children seem to relate to how annoying their siblings can be. I would usually read the first chapter but would have more annoying brotherly stories to read another time.

Both books were a little more unusual in the class library so a new tale along the way.

But, sometimes there might not be enough time to read a book completely, or maybe too much noise and distractions about, I therefore found it easier to tell a story. The stories I told would be about the playbus, or maybe the rain-sticks, and could be as long or as short as time allowed. I could also add actions and maintain eye contact with the class.

I would get the children to ask me questions and I would answer them telling them about what the bus was and what it did.

This then became a written story which I was able to try out and adapt in the reading process. Eventually the plan was written, trialled, adapted and finally put into print.A fictional Playbus

It has also led to further tales being written.

My supply teaching bag still does have those first two books inside but now my own ones have been added.

In fact, my copies of ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ and the ‘Bewbush Playbus’ history book, are both now well-thumbed. They are still well received with lots of curious questions to the author. (Me)

There are so many more story books I could have chosen. When teaching full-time the story books would change every day but as a supply cover the schools changed rather than the story-book. - Amazon - Author page - amazon .com

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