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Going Overboard on Novels

This term is my favourite for Junior School English because each year level has a novel to read. Increasingly, studies are showing that the greatest key to success in reading is through having a novel in hand. Having the ability to understand nuance of language that is in a novel is an important skill and one that is in all aspects of reading.

The novel has an important role in the development of reading, but also can have a massive role in better understanding a complex issue that students may have had limited exposure to.

Morris Gleitzman’s novel ‘Boy Overboard’ tells the story of a family living in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. When the family is threatened, the plan to escape the country. The journey of these refugees and their plight o escape a brutal regime is masterfully told through the eyes of a young boy. This novel takes a complex issue, makes it human and relatable for a year 6 boy.

What are the students saying about Boy Overboard?

‘Fly a Rebel Flag: The Battle at Eureka’ by Robyn Annear blends history, story and primary sources together to give an account of the events leading up to, and during, the Eureka Stockade. Many of the people who have gone down in folklore are featured and it is explained why they committed these actions. It is a story of people power and gives a year 5 boy an insight into an historic Australian event.

Roald Dahl is noted as one of the most popular children’s writers of all time. He deals with many and various characters transcending different genres. ‘Danny: The Champion of the World’ is the story of a young boy and his father, a mechanic. They live a simple life together, in a caravan, filled with love and joy at their life together. In this, we see a positive relationship with father and son, but also an image of masculinity we don’t often see. Plus, year 4 boys seem to love the humour the most! If I haven’t convinced you, have a listen to a few of our reviewers from year 6!

Gavin Baumber
Junior School Learning and Curriculum Leader
baumberg@atc.qld.edu.au