PUPILS at Llandough Primary School welcomed back two very special visitors last Friday when Cathy Farr and her Irish wolfhound, Mojo, returned with a very special gift – copies of Cathy’s new Bridge Reader book.

Bridge Readers have been devised by Cathy to help older children who have underlying literacy difficulties, and Moon Chase, originally written by Cathy as a young adult fantasy adventure, is the first in a planned series.

"I came up with the term Bridge Reader to try to get over to people that these are books designed to bridge the gap between learning to read and reading to learn," said Cathy, who first visited the Special Speech and Language Resource Base at Llandough last summer when Mojo was only five moths old.

"It was that visit that gave me the idea to do this series so it was only right that they enjoy the finished result.

"It took three months to write the original story of Moon Chase and five months to re-write – or effectively translate – it into the Bridge Reader. The big challenge was maintaining the excitement of the original tale while making it accessible for those who are finding reading more challenging – it was far more of an undertaking than I originally thought!"

She added: "The new book does have some very simple pictures, a nod, if you like, to the picture books the children are moving on from. But the images don’t distract from the task in hand which is reading the words to find out what happens next in the story."

Cathy consulted with teachers and a speech and language specialist to stay on track while she was working on the Bridge Reader and was careful to make sure that the supporting Teacher’s Book linked into the national curriculum. And the audio CD is narrated by Welsh actor Matthew Gravelle, who played Joe Miller in the BAFTA winning Broadchurch.

Mrs Mo McGuire, KS2, Specialist Speech and Language Teacher at Llandough was with the children to greet Cathy and receive the books.

"This is wonderful," said Mrs McGuire.

"It’s so nice to have something age appropriate that has been written specifically for this type of reader. We are delighted with the books and will certainly be putting them to good use next term."

Released in April, the novel and the accompanying Teacher’s Workbook and audio CD are being very well received and a recent review in Teach Secondary described Moon Chase, Bridge Reader as "extraordinary; starting with a story that is burning to be told, rather than an idea of who might be reading it, gives a wonderful credibility to the narrative."

Moon Chase Bridge Reader, the accompanying Teacher’s Book and the audio CD are published by BITE Publishing.

For more information go to www.fellhounds.co.uk