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Five Acres High School

Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils Conference 2023

Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils is Cheltenham Festivals' flagship outreach project designed to inspire teachers and pupils to read for pleasure, because children who read for pleasure experience high levels of well-being, engage in learning and are successful in life.


RTRP Books

Our RTRP panels of literature and education experts produce a recommended booklist each academic year for teachers in Lower-KS2, Upper-KS2 and KS3.

As a result of this initiative, teachers at Five Acres High School can be seen reading high-quality children's texts so that they can make great recommendations to students. So, teachers are reading; pupils are reading. What about parents? Would you like to be a part of promoting a book talk at Five Acres High School? Perhaps you are interested in joining a new Five Acres community book club? If so, we would love to hear from you! Click here to express an interest.

Miss K Phelps, Reading Coordinator at Five, recently attended the RTRP conference in which book talk and reading for pleasure were discussed. The conference was a day for meeting authors, talking books and gaining inspiration on how to promote a reading culture among pupils and the community. All books discussed can be found in our Library!

The day started with a talk by Candy Gourlay, an author from the Philippines, whose own experiences with life in the Philippines had inspired her to research more about her country's history. Now, being a UK resident post the revolution, she has written about the history of her country in a way that's never been done before. Her book: 'Bonetalk', as well as her latest work, 'Wild Song', were the products of research into her past.


The Story of ‘Bonetalk’:

Samkad dreams of becoming a mighty headhunter like his father, carrying his own weapons and etching tattoos across his chest to proclaim his greatness as a warrior. His best friend is a girl his age, Little Luki and Little Luki wants to become a mighty warrior too ... except in their culture, girls don't grow up to become warriors. The two friends have no idea about the world outside their isolated mountain village until a boy from the Lowlands turns up ... a boy who can speak many tongues and who tells stories about the world outside that seem ridiculous and unbelievable, especially the part about invaders called 'Americans' who are coming to take over the village.

Candy Gourlay on why she wrote the book:

As a young bookworm reading my way through my school library, I read many books with historical settings: poor Oliver Twist, orphaned in Victorian London, Tom Sawyer sneaking onto steamships on the Mississippi River, kings and swords and knights. But why wasn't a single book set in the Philippines where I grew up? Why couldn't adventures spring from my history too? Bone Talk is my attempt to fill this story gap. It's an adventure set right in the middle of a cultural collision when turn-of-the-century American soldiers encountered a headhunting Filipino warrior people. What was it like to encounter the outside world for the first time? What was it like to meet your invader and to realise that everything you knew was about to change? Samkad's people did not write their stories down, so most narratives from the era were written by their enemy, the Americans. I hope Bone Talk's readers will enjoy seeing the world through Samkad's eyes.

The day was then followed by a panel discussion about books which ‘Change the World’. This included the input of Piers Torday who has written: ‘The Last Wild’ - winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The book tackles difficult issues such as climate change.


In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either.  Locked away in a home for troubled children, he’s told there’s something wrong with him.  So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he’s finally gone a bit mad.  But the animals have something to say…

The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived.  A wise stag needs Kester’s help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an over-enthusiastic wolf-cub, a spoilt show-cat, a dancing harvest mouse and a girl named Polly.

The animals saved Kester Jaynes.  But can Kester save the animals?

To watch a new trailer of the book, click here!

The day ended with an inspirational talk from Michal Rosen and his work over the years with the DfE. As a father, writer and educationalist, Micheal emphasised the importance of a reading community and the opportunities that are statistically suggested by those who read will become those who succeed - an ethos at the heart of all that we do at Five Acres.