By: Kate Cawthorn
In 2020, in the midst of settling into the pandemic, we weren’t able to see clients or visit schools face to face, for the foreseeable future. This led me to be in a position of wanting to provide helpful and meaningful resources, and also having some available time to put my mind to this. I knew that I wanted to do something with children’s literature, and after some conversations with my colleagues, the concept of scripting our own Blank’s questions for particular books that schools already owned, was born.
There were two key influencing factors at that point: one being my love of making and creating resources, and the second being that my family loves to read. Ever since we moved to Australia with my two-year-old son, we have religiously visited the library for a full bag of books, week in and week out. Particularly during lock down, reading together and immersing ourselves in piles of picture books has been a big part of our day. There is nothing better than finding a good book: whether it is the illustrations, the themes and experiences offered, or the vocabulary and rhyme used; they have a way of touching your soul. So, the idea of drawing on all this goodness, and encouraging the sharing of good books with children and adults, felt very natural.
From there the project has grown, as it was clear that there was a wealth of potential in the simple beauty of a book. Although this has been a passion project of my own, it is very much a product of the team of speech pathologists that I work with. Someone wondered if we could incorporate phonological awareness activities, and so we have done just that. One colleague asked about themes within the questions, and how we might record this, and from there the assessment sheets grew. Another colleague has used the resources in a group setting, and from there we have more ideas around setting initial baselines, and pre- and post-testing. I’m very grateful to have had so many experienced therapists and analytical minds road testing as we have gone along, so that our resources have continued to improve.
One of these conversations was around the title, as we had all been casually referring to the resources as “the book packs”. This led to the idea of the resources being ‘the icing on the cake’ to the books themselves – the initial idea of ‘the cherry on top’ didn’t have quite the same ring to it. From there it has been an eye opening journey of discovery around graphic design, logos, the intricacies of word documents, and so on. I am very grateful that these resources have been given a life of their own by being part of a new website, and that we can finally share them with the rest of the world.
Watch this space, as the resource making bug is still within me!