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Want a real life author in your classroom?




Reading Zone Live is a very popular and well-used resource on the LGfL curriculum content grid, and we thought it was time to remind you and update you on new additions and exciting content and the full extent of this phenomenal classroom support resource. 

In 2011, LGfL and Reading Zone embarked on a simple vision: to capture live author events in schools in high-definition video to benefit the wider LGfL Community to view anytime, anywhere to support literacy across the school community. These were curated to make a unique and insightful archive of the best contemporary children and young adult authors being interviewed and, in some cases, sharing extracts from their books. 

Over time, the format and delivery of live reading sessions have changed considerably. 

The original format of a live ‘in-school’ broadcast where other schools could join in to watch the live broadcast became problematic, significantly when the viewing experience of schools joining the call was negatively impacted by technical issues relating to the live broadcast itself. So, it was decided to concentrate on filming a well-managed in-school author event without other schools joining and then making it available via the ReadingZone Live platform instead.

Then COVID and lockdown happened, and virtual meetings and interviews with authors became the most efficient way of capturing a broadcast. 

So, recent reading zone live events have been virtual, with schools still able to come on, watch the session, and sometimes take an active part.

We recently joined an event with John Cane where all the viewers to the session drew one of his characters, ‘Oh’ the Donkey, live with John’s explanation and guidance to understand how he illustrates his books. Ours was not a brilliant illustration, we admit. But because schools were joining the live broadcast, there was palpable excitement at actively sharing our ‘Oh’ the Donkey illustrations live with a real-life author. 


So, despite changes to the original format, Reading Zone Live is a rich, engaging, and supportive tool for literacy and cross-curricular work.  

So, what is Reading Zone Live? 

ReadingZone features recordings of 85 author live interviews with the ReadingZone host and journalist Caroline Horn, who has excellent and well-established relationships with all the major publishers. Since the pandemic, events are hosted on Zoom and include a half-hour author event, followed by an author Q&A via Chat, allowing students to put their questions to the author. The following authors to be featured can be viewed here. Free virtual author events with ReadingZone Live

In April 2024, there are three sessions spanning both KS1 KS2, and KS3 featuring not just texts but a graphic novel, a novel in verse, and even a craft-based event that will teach children to create their very own pair of Sunny Side Specs, to help them turn a bad mood into a good mood! 


Is Reading Zone Live just a live event?         

No, in addition to the online author events, there is a supporting website to ensure the maximum use of the resource.

For a specific author focus, there is a resource where you can see the full range of participants. Clicking on an author will then take you to that specific author, providing you with further information about them and the Reading Zone Live event, which is split up into chapters for ease of use in the classroom context. 




The interview footage of the individual authors is not just about them telling you about their books and publicizing themselves but also much deeper than that. The footage focuses on exploring a writer's craft, the influence on a writer, the challenges of being a writer, and much more, as well as advice for a younger writer and hints and tips.

There is a search function to locate a specific author or a specific Key stage or genre, which is extremely helpful in finding a particular resource for a classroom activity.

How can I use it in the classroom? 

The original ReadingZone Live website was not designed to host 1,000+ videos, and a better system with direct reference and support material for the revised primary English curriculum was needed to get full use of this rich resource.

 The COVID-19 lockdown allowed LGfL and the LEO Academy Trust to develop a new portal and support material to make the resources more accessible and secure improved English outcomes for learners. 

Unlike many other comprehension resources available, these support resources organise questions and consider a range of question types such as multiple choice, matching and ordering, and long and short answers, mirroring the kinds of questions found in the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 SATs reading papers. This allows children to practice, develop, and apply the skills needed to answer specific questions while engaging with and enjoying interesting texts from many well-known authors. It also provides teachers with assessment and moderation evidence for each domain.

There is support for using other LGfL resources such as Adobe Spark, BusyThings, and J2e online creative tools. 

The lesson resource area, located here, is organized into year 1 and 2 lesson resources, year 3 and 4 lesson resources, and year 5 and 6. 

Each year group has a set of focused authors in the primary English curriculum. 

As well as direct links to key video footage of the author from the relevant Reading Zone Live events, Leo Academy has produced activities for students to explore the themes in that author's book. There are also suggested activities for students to explore the themes in the future. There are lesson slides and extracts from the book itself.

As an example accompanying Micheal Morpurgo’s book ‘ The Fox and The Ghost King,' there are text extracts to be used in the lesson slide resource, and complete lesson task resource matched to the national curriculum. 


There is also a series of comprehension self-marking quizzes designed to allow KS2 pupils to practice and apply their skills, written in a progressive order and using different question types to support KS2 pupils with different abilities.

There are also direct links to other resources, such as Busy Things or J2E, that will provide further activities. 

For example, Michael Morpurgo's ‘The Fox and the Ghost King’ text has a wealth of activities within Busy Things to support grammar, book review creation, designing a book jacket, character profiles, and comprehension activities.


How does using Reading Zone Live and its resources and support materials benefit the class teacher and the pupils? 

Watch this clip below to learn how an author's footage and personal rationale enhanced a literacy lesson on inference and meaning. See how technology created a less focused lesson for the teacher leading the session at the front of the classroom and more focused on independence and developing pupil engagement. 

So, what's new in Reading Zone Live?

Three new authors have recently been added to the Reading Zone Live site.

They are: 

  • AF Harrold - KS2 - Poetry - A F Harrold is a poet, performer, and children’s author. He has had his work broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3 and is active in schools, running workshops and slams and doing performances. He has published several collections of poetry, including Things You Find in a Poet’s Beard, illustrated by Chris Riddell, and the anthology Midnight Feasts. Welcome to Wild Town is his latest collection.
  • Sheena Dempsey - ages 7-9 years - Graphic Novels - Sheena Dempsey is an illustrator whose books have won several awards, including the Sheffield Book Awards for Yoga Babies by Fearne Cotton and Surrey Libraries' Children's Book Award for Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow. She has also been shortlisted for the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award. The graphic novel Pablo and Splash is Sheena's first work as an author and illustrator. It grew from a web-comic she created during the pandemic lockdowns that featured her and her husband as penguins!
  • Atinuke - KS2 (8+)  -  Black History - Author and storyteller Atinuke was born in Nigeria and grew up in Lagos with her three siblings before boarding school in England when she was ten. She always loved stories and once had to stand in for a storyteller at a festival; she has been sharing stories ever since and writes her own, including the Anna Hibiscus books, and Baby Goes to Market, as well as non-fiction, including her new book Brilliant Black British History.

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