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HELBLING READERS BLOG

HELBLING READERS BLOG

2020 Reading Calendar: January-July

January 07, 2020 by Nora Nagy

Every new year brings new opportunities to read new stories and revisit old classics with our students. It is always a good idea to plan your class reading around events or film adaptations, which you can use as motivation all through the year.

We recommend you pick a title together with your class, paying attention to the reading level of your students. Then schedule the class reading so that you can discuss the story around the event it relates to, or go to a film screening together. If possible, leave time to do projects based on the book you are reading as this adds context and meaning to the story while developing life skills such as critical thinking and interpersonal skills, all in a language-learning context. 

January

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

  • Level 2, CEFR level A1/A2
  • adapted by Jennifer Gascoigne, illustrated by Cecilia Tamburini

Greta Gerwig's 2019 adaptation starring Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson has received great reviews. It is now available in most cinemas around the world. 

Here are some project ideas to use with the story:

The Adventures of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

  • Level 1, CEFR level A1
  • adapted by Jennifer Gascoigne, illustrated by Lorenzo Sabbatini

The latest film adaptation starring Robert Downey Jr. hits cinemas all over the world in January. 

Here are some project ideas to use with the story:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  • Level 2, CEFR level A1/A2
  • adapted by Jennifer Gascoigne, illustrated by Roberto Tomei

Lewis Carroll, the author of this much-loved classic, was born in Danbury, England on 27th January 1832. Take this opportunity to read the story with your middle school students. Some adult elementary level learners might enjoy the story, too.

Check out these projects based on the story:

More classic authors to celebrate in January:


February

Stories of love

February 14th is Valentine's Day, and it gives you the chance to read a story about love. We recommend Jane Austen, who is not only a great writer of romance, but is also a penetrating social critic.

Here are some stories to choose from:

  • Emma - Level 4, CEFR A2/B1; adapted by Elspeth Rawstron, illustrated by Caterina Baldi
  • Pride and Prejudice - Level 5, CEFR B1; adapted by Elspeth Rawstron, illustrated by Sara Menetti
  • Sense and Sensibility - Level 5, CEFR B1; adapted by Elspeth Rawstron, illustrated by Sara Menetti


March

International Women's Day

Celebrate women authors this month for International Women's Day on 8th March. Choose one writer, or ask your students to choose different authors and talk about their lives and achievements. 

Some famous women authors in the Helbling Readers catalogue:

  • Lucy Maud Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables - Anne arrives, Level 2, CEFR A1/A2; adapted by Nicole Harrick, illustrated by Arianna Operamolla; Anne of Green Gables - Anne grows upLevel 3, CEFR A2; adapted by Nicole Harrick, illustrated by Arianna Operamolla
  • Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights, Level 4, CEFR A2/B1; adapted by Jennifer Gascoigne, illustrated by Valentina Russello
  • Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre, Level 4, CEFR A2/B1; adapted by Frances Mariani, illustrated by Caterina Baldi
  • Katherine Mansfield: The Garden Party and Sixpence, Level 4, CEFR A2/B1; adapted by David A. Hill, illustrated by Catty Flores
  • Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse, Level 5, CEFR B1; adapted by Elspeth Rawstron, illustrated by Francesca Protopapa
  • Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence, Level 5, CEFR B1; adapted by Nora Nagy, illustrated by Simone Manfrini

Check out these projects based on the stories:


International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The United Nations offers 25th March, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade as an "opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system".

We recommend two titles for this day.

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe; Level 3, CEFR A2; adapted by Donatella Velluti, illustrated by Michele Rocchetti
  • Twelve Year's a Slave by Solomon Northup; Level 5, CEFR B1; adapted by David A. Hill, illustrated by Giuseppe Palumbo

We also have two project-based lessons built around the books:


April

English Language Day and Shakespeare Day

April 23rd is a special day for the English language. It is the official United Nations celebration of the language, and it is also the day we celebrate William Shakespeare's birth and remember his death. Choose a Shakespeare drama from the Helbling Shakespeare Series for the month of April.


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • Level 2, CEFR A1/A2
  • adapted by Geraldine Sweeney, illustrated by Caterina Baldi

The release date of the latest adaptation of this classic is 17th April. Watch the trailer of the film and then compare your expectations with the novel. 

May

Celebrate two Scottish authors: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & J.M. Barrie

Both of these Scottish authors were born in May. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories was born on 22nd May 1859. J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, was born on 9th May 1860. 

Pick one of their stories:

  • Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie; Level 1, CEFR A1; adapted by Geraldine Sweeney, illustrated by Manuela Santini
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Level 1, CEFR A1; adapted by Geraldine Sweeney, illustrated by Agilulfo Russo
  • The Red-headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Level 2, CEFR A1/A2; adapted by Maria Cleary, illustrated by Giulia Sagramola
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Level 2, CEFR A1/A2; adapted by Geraldine Sweeney, illustrated by Agilulfo Russo
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Stolen Jewels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Level 1, CEFR A1; adapted by Geraldine Sweeney, illustrated by Agilulfo Russo

Check out these projects based on the stories:


June

World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is celebrated on 8th June to "honour our one global ocean, which connects us all'. Take this opportunity to talk about protecting our oceans and show your students how distant places are all connected by these waters. 

We recommend three classic titles which take us to faraway lands.

  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe; Level 2, CEFR A1/A2; adapted by Jennifer Gasicogne, illustrated by Arianna Vairo
  • Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift; Level 3, CEFR A2; adapted by Beverley Young, illustrated by Michele Rocchetti
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; Level 3, CEFR A2; adapted by David A. Hill, illustrated by Giuseppe Palumbo


Charles Dickens: 150th anniversary of his death

One of the greatest authors of the Victorian age died in Gad's Hill Place on 9th June 1870. Choose one of his stories for the holidays.

  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens; Level 3, CEFR A2; adapted by Janet Olearski, illustrated by Mario Onnis
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Level 4, CEFR A2/B1; adapted by Jennifer Gascoigne, illustrated by Valentina Russello

 

July

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

  • Level 4, CEFR level A2/B1
  • adapted by Jennifer Gascoigne, illustrated by Valentina Russello

Emily Brontë, the author of Wuthering Heights, was born in Thornton, England on 30th July 1818. Take this opportunity to read the story with your secondary school students. Some adult pre-intermediate level learners might enjoy the story, too.

Check out this project-based lesson:


Paperback books

Promote a love of print books and paperback books on Paperback Book Day on 30th July.

Read more about this day and get inspired by our activities:

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