When encouraging children to read for pleasure it is important to remember that they should be able to choose their reading material whenever possible. This choice may not always be the latest award winning novel but perhaps a magazine, comic or newspaper. Good school libraries always have several of these available for pupils as they can be the key that opens the door to the world of reading. The following suggestions have all been enjoyed, shared and valued by children in my care as a school librarian. I am passing on their details in the hope that they will be equally successful in your school library or classroom.
WRD is a magazine all about books for children between 8 and 14 years old. Originally known as tBkmag, but rebranded as WRD in 2013, it is wonderful for keeping up to date with children’s books. It is full of extracts from the latest books, author Q&As plus loads of assorted features and activities. I used this in the library frequently to help give pupils a taste of books or authors that may be new to them. A couple of extracts read aloud often encouraged children to be more adventurous in their reading choices and it is extremely helpful for librarians and teachers alike. Sometimes it provided reading material for those who had left their reading book at home too!
From 2018 WRD will be published three times each year in March, July and October. It is available singly (from£45 per year) or in packs of four for schools (from £49.50) so can be distributed around classrooms if required. I would highly recommend this. More details are available on their website here.
The Week Junior
The Week Junior Magazine was launched in 2015 and is aimed at children aged between 8 and 14. This is designed to help children to understand current affairs and the world around them.
It is packed with news on a wide range of diverse topics covering everything from nature, the environment and science to politics, sport and technology. It also includes reviews of books, films, video games and apps. The information is presented in a very child friendly way but provides valuable information too. The weekly debate page is invaluable for sparking class discussion and I loved sharing this with children in the library.
Weekly issues cost £1.20 in the shops but special subscriptions for schools are available from £53.33 for one issue per week. More information is on the official website.
This monthly magazine is fabulous for younger children. Each month, Storytime magazine is packed with wonderful stories for children including fairy tales, myths, fables, stories from different cultures and tales from new authors. Accompanied by bright and cheerful illustrations and puzzles, games and activities this is a very appealing package. Perfect for reading aloud sessions in KS1 and lower KS2 this is a useful resource for teachers and the publishers have now created a range of teaching resources to accompany the magazine. There are more details of these and the various subscriptions available to schools on the website.
Anorak Magazine, published quarterly and known as the ‘happy mag for kids’ is aimed at boys and girls aged between 6 and 12 years old. Published on recycled paper this has a subtly different look to other magazines for this age group. I think this is a refreshing change and children appeared to think so too.
Each issue has a theme (inspired by the British National Curriculum) to inspire and encourage children to tap into their natural creativity and learn while having fun. Every edition has plenty of beautifully illustrated stories, games and activities to inspire and encourage. A one year subscription costs £25. If you would like to find out more visit the website.
First published in 1996 this educational magazine for children aged 9-12 includes a wide range of subjects including nature, science and history. Animal topics are presented through spectacular photos and informative facts. Important historical events are retold in story format and in a lively and engaging way and science articles present the great innovations and inventions using clear explanations and captioned pictures. There are comic-strips, DIY activities, games, quizzes, recipes, pet care, and competitions to attract and engage. I think this is more suitable for young readers who may be put off by a lot of dense text.
Ten issues a year cost £50 and can be ordered via the website.
This long standing monthly magazine needs no introduction. Described as “the ultimate intelligent read for inquisitive kids” it is full of interesting articles and challenging puzzles that will get the whole family involved, every issue covers science, history and general knowledge. AQUILA is beautifully illustrated throughout with contemporary artwork.
Despite the increase in competitors Aquila remains a valuable addition to the primary school library or classroom. The content complements what children are being taught and can inspire them to discover more. The topics covered can link together what children are learning in maths, science, history and English. The magazine was originally conceived with the aim of challenging the gifted and more able child and it continues to do so. Details of subscriptions and multi-buy savings are available on the website.
Hugely popular and widely used in schools this award winning weekly newspaper for children is aimed at 7 to 14-year-olds and encourages them to read about the news in an easy to understand and non-threatening way.
It cover issues which are relevant to children and which specifically affect them. There is a mix of world news and UK news, but also loads of fun stuff, such as entertainment, games, animals, sport and puzzles. The editorial team try to provide a balance of happy, positive stories together with the more hard hitting items in the international news.
There are a range of subscriptions available for schools on the website.
The Phoenix Comic
Last but not least is this brilliant weekly comic. As soon as the first copy arrived in the school library I knew I was on to a winner. The Phoenix is a weekly comic with high quality content and no 3rd party adverts that is suitable for girls and boys aged 6-12.
I have a soft spot for this great magazine as I have on several occasions spotted children, who are normally reluctant to read, curled up in the library engrossed in this. It engages through a mixture of stories, information and humour all conveyed with wonderful illustrations. This is a valuable addition to every primary school library and would be useful in the classroom too. It has also inspired children I have worked with to create their own comics too. It is fabulous.
To find out more visit their official website.
Perhaps one of these magazines will encourage your children to read for pleasure. I do hope so.