Culture vulture

16th June 2006 at 01:00
Kay Hiatt has an infectious passion for books, books, books and Dr Who

Books I love

Anything by Anne Tyler because of her ability to draw strong characters and take you right into the heart of family and other cultures. I also adore The Shipping News by Annie Proulx because the quality of its writing leaves you breathless, and because again you are hurtled into another world. I now drink bush tea because I've been drawn into the Botswana of Alexander McCall Smith. That's how engrossed I become in books.

Films I love

I'm a sucker for science fiction and special effects and love Doctor Who, pictured, and Terminator II. I still feel that sense of awe when Arnie walks in from outer space. I also identify with Etre et Avoir, a documentary about a school in rural France (directed by Nicolas Philibert, 2002). I was head of a village primary in Gloucestershire where I taught one class from Years 3 to 6 and got to know those children so well. You could give the love and support that teaching should be about.

Best inspiration

The Daydreamer is the only children's book written by Ian McEwan and it is stunning. It's a classic story about a boy becoming a teenager, whose dreams take him into other worlds, like the wardrobe in CS Lewis or the rabbit hole in Lewis Carroll. It's tender and horrifying and empathetic and when I've used it with a range of young writers, they've been stimulated to write non-stop.

Favourite resource

The treasure box: a box which I get a class of children to fill with books, magazines, comics; anything they love to read and want to share. It gives children the right to choose and the enjoyment of browsing. Pressure on children to read means that many lose sight of the big picture.

To share with pupils

Reading books aloud. There's nothing better to stimulate children's love of stories.

Looking forward to

My grandchildren enjoying books. My partner and I have seven between us.

Kay Hiatt is a primary and foundation stage consultant for English in Surrey. Her new book Drama Play (David Fulton) helps teachers to bring books to life through drama. She is also author of a new interactive phonics programme, Big Cat Phonics (HarperCollins). Interview by Elaine Williams

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