Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Black Cat Readers

The place I work at (Khalifa University) hosted a presentation by Rob Hill, a leading author at Black Cat Publishers.

The presentation was a very 'live' version of the advice Rob gives in his useful "The Black Cat Guide to Graded Readers" available on the Black Cat Website

I am very impressed by the Black Cat catalogue of graded readers. When you look at the Black Cat website you will find a range of titles which you can preview. All of the titles that I checked included "dossier" pages which provide factual contextual background on the stories which range from Shakespeare and traditional fairy tales to modern high-tech thrillers. Young boys in particular like to read non-fiction, and so adding factual information that contextualises the stories should help to keep their interest. The Teacher's Corner also includes lots of extra material to help introduce readers into the classroom.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


It's that time of the year again. In this neck of the woods, in the UAE, March spells the return not only of the annual TESOL Arabia conference, but all the hoopla that goes with it. As a range of authors, experts and assorted academics are in town for the weekend, the world and his wife want a piece of the action.

The conference this year was just like most years, except more so. That is, disappointing, although this year the venue was the biggest culprit.

This year, however, I am glad to say that the READ Sig was launched, and seems to have generated a lot of interest. The sessions provided by Tom Le Seelleur were mainly well attended and provided a good springboard for the campaign to get the UAE reading. In addition, we have both been very busy preparing the inaugural issue of the magazine for the organisation, called "READ" (big surprise, there!!).

READ Magazine Issue 1 contains articles by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, publisher and daughter of the leader of the Sharjah emirate, who describes how she reads to her children, Isobel Abdulhoul, previously head of Marudy's bookstores and now curator of the Emirates International Festival of Literature, commenting on the importance of literature, authors Peter Viney, Philip Prowse and Caroline Brandt along with a host of talented and committed teachers, librarians and educators who all explain how they are working to raise the profile of reading across the country.