The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle
This unit of planning and resources is written specifically to engage reluctant readers, particularly boys.
The initial weeks cover a range of reading and writing skills, (descriptive writing, character analysis, even cinquain poetry - skater style!)
The Bubble Wrap Boy is an enjoyable book suitable for ages 10-15. It would work well in Year 6 or Year 7/8 intervention classes, where they keep the same teacher all day. It centres on a geeky teenager, Charlie Han, who reinvents himself as a skating legend. His equally geeky friend gains kudos through his graffiti art.
I have taught it in Year 5 and so that is what the national curriculum standards reference. My lower-ability writers’ standards shot up after this unit and standards of the whole class improved exactly where the gaps were, as this is how it was planned. The unit includes a mixture of discrete grammar lessons and lessons that build on from one another. The main focus is how to write an extended narrative - with each skill building logically on from the next. It leads into a project of extended writing at the end, this is key to improving stamina and ongoing writing ability.
While this English unit of work focuses on writing, I strongly recommend that the book is focussed on during daily reading sessions prior to the main English writing session. It is assumed that the teacher will be able to read chapters outloud with the children outside of the main writing session, and ideally, the children themselves will have plenty of opportunity to engage with and read the text, too.
This text has some strong themes in it, such as bullying, loss and family deception. It has some mild bad language and teenage-style comments that the teacher should be aware of and read with discretion with lower ages, particularly in Year 5.
I had such fun teaching this unit, as we delivered it as a whole learning journey, where the children studied graffiti and urban art, too, and we visited the local skate parks, did skating angles etc in maths. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
If you like these resources, I would be grateful if you could leave a review for others.