The Library

An older girl helping a younger girl choose a book

Our school library is a lovely, welcoming space. We stock books to support IPC topics, general fiction and non-fiction, plus picture books alongside books in many other languages to support the Mother Tongue and Language Acquisition Programmes.

The library is at the heart of the school and is located centrally so that all children and staff can access the resources at any time. Children visit the library regularly and the space is also sometimes used for Mother Tongue classes. Alongside the regular weekly activity, every year we organise a Book Month which runs throughout March, starting with World Book Day and ending with a Reading Breakfast. During the month, various other activities also take place including an author visit, a book fair and the annual publication of the We Are Writers book where children’s work is published as a book and sold within the school community.

The library is staffed by a fully-qualified and experienced professional librarian, who is assisted by an invaluable parent volunteer who takes responsibility for many of the routine tasks necessary for a library to run well. She is also a vital link to the PTA and Class Parents who work so hard to promote and support library-based activities throughout the year.

There are a small group of student librarians in Year 6 who help with the running of the library and who take a leadership role with promotional activities. Some of their recent projects include organising a sponsored read with the help of Years 5 and 6; organising a book and bake sale to raise funds for the library; running an assembly to launch Book Month, an initiative in which they played an instrumental role; writing in the school bulletin on a regular basis, as well as being enthusiastic advocates of the library and literacy within the school. These students are working through the School Library Association awards in student librarianship. This is an excellent skills-based programme, designed to teach children and young people about the fundamental elements of both running a library and using it effectively.

Reading Tips

We hope our reading tips help you to encourage your children to find a quiet corner and curl up with a good book!

  • An older girl reading to a younger studentA child is much more likely to read something they are interested in and have chosen themselves.
  • Public libraries are a great resource, and here in Woking, our library is fantastic! There is something for everyone, it's free and it is a great cloudy day activity
  • Know your child's reading level, and help them to choose books that are interesting but not overwhelming
  • 'Easy' reading is OK! Focus on interest, enjoyment, and completing (most) books, rather than difficulty. A confident reader will naturally move to more engaging, complex literature when they are ready.
  • Make time for reading every day, if possible.
  • Read in your home language or English, allowing your child to lead the way.
  • Make reading a social activity. Reading together is fun and an important family experience.
  • Model reading - allow your child to see that you enjoy reading.
  • Use 'wasted' time, for example travel time, to squeeze in extra reading. Perhaps keep a book in the car, or explore the world of e-readers to take plenty of stories on long journeys.
  • There is no need to limit reading aloud to very young children. Even older primary students, tweens and teens can benefit from listening to a story and understanding the writing from a different perspective.
  • If your child is multilingual, then reading in your home language is a perfect way to foster positive, deep emotional links with the language.
  • If your multilingual child chooses to read a book in English, you can still discuss the book in your home language. This can create new ways to think about the story while boosting skills in both languages!

Book of the Week

Book of the week Friday 1st February
Sarah Price

The Knight who wouldn’t Fight by Helen Docherty

To end National Storytelling Week, 'The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight' is a wonderful rhyming tale of Leo, a gentle knight who liked to read more than fight.

When his parents encouraged him to fight, he couldn’t really understand why. One day, they sent him off to tame a dragon armed with a new shield and sword. Luckily, Leo also packed a pile of his favourite stories and headed off on his horse. 

During his trip, he encountered several creatures who wanted to fight him, but in each case, he read them a story featuring a creature just like them which helped Leo make friends with them. When he reached the town where the dragon needed taming, again he managed to get the dragon onside by the promise of a story about dragons. By the end of the book, his parents agreed that he didn’t need to fight after all and was able to read in peace with his new friends.

Like 'Tiddler' by Julia Donaldson, this book shows the power that a story can have and is accompanied by wonderful illustrations.

  • Book of the week
  • Fiction
  • Julia
  • The Knight who wouldn't fight
  • The Library
Book of the Week Friday 25th January
Sarah Price

The tall tales of Tiddler, by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Tiddler is a small fish who tells the most amazing and sometimes unbelievable stories. He makes up bigger and better stories everyday about why he was late for school.

One day, he really ends up in trouble when he gets caught up in a fishing net. After swimming around in the middle of the ocean he overhears a fish telling one of his stories. This leads to another adventure as he traces his story all the way back home via a series of other sea creatures who have all passed on his story and we even find the author herself making a little cameo appearance at the end. 

This is another beautifully written and illustrated book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and it is a joy to read aloud with its gently rhyming text.

It is a lovely starting point to a discussion of the power of storytelling and how the oral tradition of telling stories is as important now as it ever has been.

Next week is National Storytelling Week (Jan 26th – Feb 2nd) and I hope everyone will spend some time telling stories at home and at school. I’d love to hear about ways that you have shared stories at home next week!


  • Book of the week
  • Fiction
  • Julia Donaldson
  • The Library
  • Tiddler
Book of the Week Friday 11th January
Sarah Price

Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham

John Burningham was an award winning writer and illustrator who sadly passed away last Friday at the age of 82. He was a local author, born in Farnham and was married to another wonderful author of picture books, Helen Oxenbury. His books have been loved by generations of children and so I have chosen one of his titles for the book of the week.

Mr Gumpy’s Outing was published in 1970 and won the Kate Greenaway Prize that year. He had won the same award previously with another book in 1963. 

This book is a gentle tale of Mr Gumpy who lived by the river and decided to go out on his boat. The children asked if they could join him and he said they could as long as they didn’t squabble. Then a host of animals also wanted to come along, and he had a warning for each of them – “yes, but don’t hop about” he said to the bunny, “yes, but don’t flap” he said to the chickens, etc. Of course, the trip reaches an inevitable conclusion when all the children and animals start doing what they were told not to do, but in a very good natured way. At the end, Mr Gumpy still invites them to come again another day.

There are plenty of opportunities for discussion with this book, starting from looking at traits of different animals, wondering what will happen next and whether everyone will even fit in the boat. A deeper discussion could also take place about consequences. The text is very simple and short which makes it suitable for younger children, but it also has enough within the story and illustrations for older children to enjoy.

  • Book of the week
  • Fiction
  • Kate Greenaway Prize
Book of the week Friday 7th December
Sarah Price

Look I’m a Scientist

This book was nominated for the SLA Information Book Award 2018 in the age seven and under category. It won both the Judge’s Award and Children’s Choice Award in that age group category and then went on to win the overall Book of the Year across all age groups.

It is packed full of exciting science experiments that don’t need a science lab or special equipment but just use household equipment and things you would find in most kitchens. The slime ingredients, for example, are cornflour, washing up liquid, food colouring and warm water. Even the most exciting looking experiment - a potion, which includes a (slightly messy) chemical reaction only requires vinegar, washing up liquid, food colouring, glitter and baking soda!

What we particularly like about this book is that, as well as making the hands-on practical elements of science very accessible to young children, there are enough questions linked to the senses and scientific observation to start children thinking as a scientist as well. 

The layout of the book works well – there are clear numbered instructions, speech bubbles with scientific ideas, terminology and questions, clear photos of each stage of the process and suggestions of how to take each experiment further.

  • Book of the week
  • Childrens Choice Award
  • Non-fiction
  • Science
Book of the Week Friday 30th November
Sarah Price

Will Varjak learn the rest of the Seven Skills on his adventure? Will he find a dog? Will he be able to save his family from the gentleman? 

Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue cat who lives with his family in the Contessa’s house. Like the rest of his family, he was born in this house and has never been outside. He has always been treated a little differently to the rest of his family as his eyes are amber rather than the usual green colour.

When the Contessa dies, a gentleman arrives with two black cats. The Elder Paw asks Varjak to go outside to find a monster that he had heard of, called a dog. Varjak is taught about the Way of Jalal, an ancient and secret martial art for cats. The Elder Paw only knows three of the Seven Skills – Slow-Time, Moving Circles, Shadow-Walking. 

Will Varjak learn the rest of the Seven Skills on his adventure? Will he find a dog? Will he be able to save his family from the gentleman? 

This novel is full of atmosphere and adventure along with really effective and striking illustrations. We are currently reading this in the Year 3 and 4 library lessons and the class is really enjoying it. We can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Last week Miss Clare tweeted the author SF Said (@whatSFSaid) to let him know how much we were enjoying it and he replied with this message for them: 

"Please say hello to them and tell them to keep the Way alive!”

  • Book of the week
  • Cats
  • Fiction
  • SF Said
  • The Library
  • Varjak Paw

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Clare BrumptonMeet our Librarian: Clare Brumpton
Clare has a Bachelors degree in Social Sciences, a Masters degree in Library Management (specialising in School Librarianship) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Leadership. She has been managing school libraries in the UK since 1999 and has worked extensively with each age group within schools. Clare joined ISL Surrey in 2015 and now works at both ISL Surrey Primary School and at ISL London.

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We are Writers!

We Are WritersWe've published another edition of the 'We Are Writers' book. Nearly every child in years 1-6 contributed a piece of work to this book and there is a wonderful variety from poems, writing based on IPC units, creative writing pieces, writing inspired by other literature. It is lovely to see the range of writing skills displayed by our students and I hope they keep developing these skills.