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Teaching all pupils about strong female role models -using high quality texts that empower women

The theme of International Women’s Day (IWD) this year was to inspire change and the need for further action to embed gender equality across the globe.

IWD raises awareness for this theme and celebrates success stories and achievements made by women from around the world. However, as teachers, we also have a duty to teach all our pupils about strong female role models. Here are some amazing new books that will enable you to do exactly that and some teaching resources to use immediately too.

Book title and author Brief outlineLesson ideas
Little People, Big Dreams, M Isabel Sanchez Vegarapic-1Inspiring stories of famous women featuring a facts and photo section at the back of each. Some of the women covered are: Coco Chanel, Maya Angelou, Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earheart and Agatha Christie.
Suitable to read to all KS1 and KS2 pupils
• Demonstrating and modelling (writing): Good to show pupils how a short story with illustrations can be supported by photographs and a fact section. Useful when modelling structure and organisation of texts before pupils write their own versions
Fantastically Great Women who changed the world, Kate Pankhurstpic-2-jpg‘This book is the perfect introduction to just a few of the incredible women who helped shape the world we live in.’ Non-fiction book with illustrations (rather than photographs).
• Suitable for Y2 GD (with some support)
• Year 3 and Year 4
• Less able UKS2 pupils
• Evidence of comprehension skills: Using question mats to challenge pupils with test style questions. There are a set of question mats attached below to support each featured woman in this book (pitched at year 3 but can be edited).












Women in Science- 50 Fearless Pioneers – who changed the world, Rachel Ignotofskypic-3"‘Women in Science is a gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women.’ Double page spreads including a quotation from the featured woman. Non-fiction book with illustrations (rather than photographs).
• Suitable for more able Year 5 pupils
• Year 6 pupils
• Skimming and scanning: These double spreads could be used in both group reading sessions or whole class. Because facts are arranged around the illustration and the main body of text, teachers could ask pupils to ‘find & point to various facts’ as soon as they can. This will increase pupils’ ability to skim and scan with ease.
• Reading at speed: excluding the additional facts, most of the texts are between 300 and 400 words long. A way of assessing fluency at KS1 is that year 2 pupils can read 90 words a minute. Year 6 teachers can challenge their pupils to read the text in 3 or 4 minutes. Some pupils may require teachers to model reading at this speed aloud first.

The Madeleine Lindley Book Centre stock the above non-fiction titles as well as high quality fiction with a lead female character such as:

The Night Spinnerpic18The Girl of Ink and Stars
Ada Twist, Scientistpic4Daisy and the Trouble with Giantspic5
Journey to the River Sea
Cogheartpic15The Sleeper and the Spindlepic13Lie Treepic6Little Women978184749587700
Matilda978014136546600Lost Happy Endingspic8Extra Yarnpic10
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