Children’s and young adult literature can excite and motivate students to become life-long readers.

Our Open-the-Book Thinking and Planning Tools help teachers and librarians:

  • explore children's and young adult literature and the reading experience
  • captivate student imagination, and
  • engage them with reading and writing.

The power of reading

Children’s and young adult literature, in all of its formats and genres, has the power to excite and motivate students to become life-long readers. Such readers combine the will to read with the skill of reading.

Teachers, librarians, parents, and other ‘enabling adults’ play a critical role in helping children and young adults become passionate, thoughtful, and reflective readers.

Our Open-the-Book tools are starting points for conversations that lead to rich and deep reading experiences. They can help educators (and their students) start:

  • talking about reading with others
  • exploring the 'story behind the story' of a book, author, or illustrator
  • getting to know and appreciate an author's or illustrator’s body of work
  • considering and appreciating different elements of a book
  • offering personalised reading recommendations.

Planning tools

What's in them

The planning tools provide spaces for you to note your thoughts and questions about a specific book, including:

  • its form and content
  • inquiry into the book using 'fertile' questions (junior planning tool only)
  • links to NZ Curriculum NCEA standards (English/other).

Approaches to inquiry learning has more about 'fertile' (big or essential) questions.

How to use them

Start getting to know the tools by reading our guide first, which explains how to use the different parts of the tool.

Guide for the Open-the-Book Thinking and Planning Tools (pdf, 827KB)

Use our completed primary and junior secondary planning tools as examples to help you use them too.

The tools

Blank primary/junior secondary Open-the-Book Thinking and Planning tool (pdf, 557KB)

Blank senior secondary Open-the-Book Thinking and Planning Tool (pdf, 686 KB)

Examples

Example junior primary Open-the-Book Thinking and Planning Tool (pdf, 586KB)

Example upper primary/junior secondary Open-the-Book Thinking and Planning Tool (pdf, 576KB)

Find out more

The role of literature in the inquiry classroom (pdf, 180KB) — an article by Kath Murdoch that provides sample inquiry strategies, questions, and information about using literature to deepen students’ understanding of the ‘big ideas’ central to their inquiries. She uses the following 3 approaches:

  • literature as an ‘information’ source
  • literature to teach questions and stimulate curiosity
  • teaching literature with an inquiry stance.

Inspiring inquiry through picture books — a post on Kath Murdoch’s blog.