Shadowing The Greenaway: Our 5 Top Tips

Top tips for shadowing the Greenaway shortlist 2018

Sometimes playing second fiddle to its older sister the Carnegie Medal, the Greenaway should not be overlooked as an amazing way to engage readers regardless of age. With its focus on artistic quality and the visual experience of reading it is perfect for both toddler and teen.

We have five top tips for getting the most out of your shadowing experience.

Look CloserI cannot recommend the Reading Resources on the shadowing homepage enough. If you are new to  Greenaway Shadowing these should definitely be your first port of call. The Visual Literacy Guides are an excellent tool for guiding your shadowing group to look more closely at the illustrations as well as offering opportunities to explore the books within the context of the wider world. The reading prompts and questions will gently steer shadowers towards assessing the books against the judging criteria. With additional ideas for further research as well as creative prompts, you really can’t go wrong.

Look Closer (1)

If you’ve got a bit more time to spend with your group, I’d heartily recommend taking a look at the teaching sequences available on the Resources page too. Specially designed for the Shadowing Scheme by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), these top notch resources are wonderful for getting children to really engage with the text, asking them to speculate about the mood created by a particular illustration and how the choices made by the illustrator can really affect our reading of the narrative.

Greenaway Reading Resources

Kate Greenaway 2018 Resources available on the Shadowing homepage

Look Closer (2)The recent partnership with Amnesty International Uk means that you also have the opportunity to explore the human rights content of each of the shortlisted books. We already know how wonderful children’s books are for encouraging empathy and broadening horizons but now you have a toolkit designed to highlight just that. You will find an ‘Exploring Human Rights Through Books’ guide for each of the books on the Resources page of the shadowing site.

Look Closer (3)The key to running a successful shadowing group is to make it work for you. The resources are there as a starting point – take what you want from them and adapt them to suit your particular group and time scale. I ended up blending questions from both the Visual Literacy and the Exploring Human Rights Through Books guides as well as adding questions of my own to suit my group of 11 – 12 year olds last year. Similarly, if you have concerns about the suitability of a book for a particular age group or you’re worried that there’s not enough time for all your shadowers to have read the book beforehand, maybe think about narrowing your focus – is there a particular double page spread or short series of illustrations that you could explore in isolation or use as a prompt for creative writing instead? Presumably, you’ve ended up buying the full set of books so make the most of them – don’t waste an opportunity to introduce your group to some outstanding visual texts.

Greenaway Shadowing

Home made reading guides using the Visual Literacy Notes and Amnesty’s Exploring Human Rights Through Books guide

Look CloserAs with Carnegie Shadowing the joy of this scheme is in the sharing. Register your group and make the most of the customisable homepage and online resources – see how other readers are enjoying the books and rate your favourites. Watch out too for the illustrator videos that will be arriving on the site over the next few weeks – they’re a great starting point for discussion within your own group and a wonderful insight into the working methods and thought processes of the illustrators.

Happy Shadowing!


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