Understanding Disability

Our theme for May 2021 is Understanding Disability, and our picturebook of the month is ‘Freddie and the Fairy’ written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Karen George and published by Macmillan Children’s Books. The story is about a boy called Freddie. “Freddie is desperate for a pet, so when he rescues a fairy called Bessie-Belle and she offers to grant his wishes, he knows just what to ask for. The only problem is that Bessie-Belle can’t hear very well, and Freddie tends to mumble … Whatever can they do?”

Our picturebook of the month ‘Freddie and the Fairy’ deals with deafness and thus links the UK’s Deaf Awareness Week 2021 which takes place in April. If you have been working with our PEPELT mini e-lessons you will know that some have an additional signed read-aloud by Leanne Signed Stories. Leanne’s videos promote diversity, inclusion and awareness of British Sign Language (BSL) in mainstream classes that may not have deaf pupils in them in order to make classes more deaf aware. Check here to access the lessons and learn a few signs with your class. If you are wondering about how to introduce our theme of the month ‘understanding disability’ and ‘deaf-awareness’, have a look at these posters shared by Leanne’s Signed Stories. Perhaps they could become a stepping stone?

The attached article offers a great introduction to our theme and the story behind our picturebook of the month:

Sandie: Peritextual Features

Front cover:
Very rich. Presents the main characters, but also the different animals that appear in the picturebook, and the concept of rhyming (cat – cat; dog – frog; mouse – louse etc). It also presents the tree where Freddie meets the Fairy as well as the kite which she gets tangled in.
Back cover:
is a continuation of the front cover, so open it out so that you can really talk about the whole illustration.
Front and back endpapers:
Decorative, representing the louse. Return to these after the
first read-aloud and identify the
louse.
Title page: One whole spread.
The title is written in Freddie’s thought bubble, and there is a
kite flying high in the sky – point
to this and wonder together
about it being lost. It is the kite
that tangles Bessie-Belle the
Disability literacy:
Becoming aware of the skills required for effective communication which are
inclusive for all people and
especially for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Understanding the lived
reality of deafness and
empathising with different
feelings and emotions.
Literary literacy:
Recognising narrative and
dialogue;
Becoming aware of rhyme;
Predicting rhyming words;
Creating rhyming pairs;
Acting out the story.
fairy in the next opening. The
children might make that
connection, an dit can be
suggested upon re-reading.
Dedication and copyright
information are in a scroll
hanging from the tree branch.
Return to this after the first
read-aloud, as it replicates the
scrolls of the Three rules that
Freddie learns. The fairy
mother is featured on it too…
Lots to notice and to make
connections within the peritext,
so you and the children will be

Tatia: Teacher Education

Our picturebook of the month focuses on interaction – disability etiquette. I begin this film by citing that one of the challenges faced by many children is understanding how to interact with people with disabilities (https://bit.ly/347pRxl). And so I wonder what student teachers know about interacting with people with disabilities? After reading ‘Freddie and the Fairy’ with student teachers, the pages which show how children should not interact become my starting point. In this film, I refer to a book we shared on fb last week: https://bit.ly/3bNvPYI and a film which I would share with student teachers (Disability Sensitivity Training): https://bit.ly/3yBN49g by RespectAbility.

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Gail: Multiliteracies

Disability literacy:
Becoming aware of the skills required for effective communication which are
inclusive for all people and
especially for people who are
deaf or hard of hearing.
Understanding the lived
reality of deafness and
empathising with different
feelings and emotions.
Literary literacy:
Recognising narrative and
dialogue; Becoming aware of rhyme; Predicting rhyming words;
Creating rhyming pairs; Acting out the story

Annete: Notes from the Classroom

Language focus: Writing rules – dos and don’ts when talking to hearing impaired.  Practicing WH-questions through miming in pairs and building sentences.
Practicing spelling using sign alphabet.
Personal and social education: Building awareness of nonverbal communication. Practicing reading body language. Miming games based on Early Years and baby Signing Flash Cards and a picture book My First Animal Signs by Anthony Lewis.