WHAT IS A WALL, AFTER ALL? By Judy Allen. Illustrated by Alan Baron. Walker Read and Wonder pound;4.99Non-fiction for under-fives to eight-year-olds.
Gwynneth Bailey uses anentertaining non-fiction text to build lessons across the curriculum.
The Read and Wonder information books are ideal for the literacy hour. This one, written in rollicking rhyme, deals with the science and art of building and looks at different materials and how they are used. It is funny as well as informative.
How to use it
* Read the whole book aloud. Divide the text between individual readers, pairs, groups and the whole class. Work up to a snappy pace, being aware of extended sentences, rhythm and rhyme.
* Read Little Lumpty by Miko Imai (Walker pound;4.99). Write a rap beginning "Humpty Dumpty was a very fat man..."
* Read pages 26 and 27 of What is a Wall After all? again, then research either mountaineering or creatures that climb.
* Look at adjectives. Study those used on pages 14 and 15 (such as tall, low, round), then try to remember others used through the book to describe walls.
* Look at how one type of wall is constructed. Use the index to help decide which kind of wall you want to do some research about. To support writing on the various topics, try to find a story book that matches them. For example, on castle walls, The Little Prince and the Great Treasure Hunt by Peter Kavanagh (MacDonald pound;8.99, pound;4.99).
* List in alphabetical order all the technical terms used in the book - "throughstone", "raking shore", "coping", and so on - and find out about the more unfamiliar ones.
* Get the pupils to describe a wall they know well, using adjectives.
* Chalk a rectangle on a brick wall. Estimate, then count, the number of bricks in the rectangle. Try rectangles of different sizes.
* Invent a board game based on a brick wall.
* Tour the school environment, listing different materials and purposes for walls. Are they all contemporary?
* Identify buildings made from local stone. Are there dry-stone walls in the area?
* Invite a local builder in, with architect's plans.
* Make a collection of different bricks: dated, sea-weathered.
* Make clay or concrete bricks, using matchboxes or margarine tubs as moulds, and experiment with building dry-stone walls.
Geography and history
* Look up the Great Wall of China in the index, then find out more from an atlas or other reference source.
* Find out about other famous walls, for example Hadrian's Wall or ancient walls around cities such as Warwick and Norwich.
* Build walls with construction sets, using stretchers and strengthening corners.
* Play a game, such as Jenga, that involves balancing bricks.
Sponge-print a long brick wall, people it with "nosey" characters, as in the book.
Gwynneth Bailey is the language co-ordinator at Aldborough county primary school, Norwich BLACK open book.