My name’s Vanessa Reilly. I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years and a teacher trainer since 1994. I’ve worked with teachers from all over the world from countries like Austria, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the UAE and the Ukraine.  My new books Splash and Big Surprise take the children all the way through from pre-school right through to the end of primary school.   I’m also the author of Three in a tree, Cookie & friends, Surprise, Surprise Surprise, Super Surprise and My friends.  I’m co-author of the OUP Resource Books for Teachers Very Young Learners and Writing with children.


35 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Leahn said,

    Hi Vanessa,

    I’ve just found your blog through Michelle Worgan’s blog and the ‘It’s worth taking a look at this blog’ chain blog recommendation thingy that’s flying around the blogsphere at the moment!

    Nice to see YL blogs!

    I’ll be following you.

    Many Thanks


    • 2

      Thanks Leahn,
      As I said to Michelle, I’ve been meaning to do one for ages but never got round to it. I just got started over 2 weeks ago so still a lot to do.
      I’ll put a link to yours if you don’t mind.
      Best wishes

  2. 4

    Hi Vanessa

    Thought I should let you know that I’ve included your blog on my list of ten blogs worth looking at (Vale a pena ficar de olho nesse blog!) because you have lots of lovely ideas for very young learners.

    Best wishes


    • 5

      Hi Michelle,
      Thanks. I’ve been meaning to do one for ages but hadn’t managed to get round to it. Now I’m hooked. I will put a link to yours on mine if you don’t mind.
      Best wishes

      • 6

        Hi Vanessa

        It doesn’t look like you only recently started the blog – you must have been very busy writing up all these activities!
        Please feel free to add my blog to your blogroll.

        All the best


  3. 7

    daniela said,

    Hi Vanessa,

    I hope you have had a good welcome back to Spain from Chile, I would really have liked telling you this personally, but you always were too busy after your speeches, anyway, I went to your both conferences and I really got amused by your methodology, you were so simple and so completed that I really like that, I want you to thank you for having come to my country, because I learned a lot from you, I´m not a teacher yet, but this is my last year as a students, anyway, being a students or a teacher, I learned from you a lot and very thank you for that, you contribute a lot!

    have a nice week!!!

  4. 9

    Alexis Stainow said,

    Hi Vanessa,
    I am a teacher at Yago School in Sevilla and we are having a Book Week the 16th – 20th of April. We work with the Oxford Reading Tree and Floppy Phonics and I was wondering if you could give me some activities to do during book week. please email me with some ideas and if you are in seville that week we would love for you to drop by.
    Thank you

    • 10

      Hi Alexis,
      Sorry but I’ve only just picked up your message as I’ve been away on a promotional tour for about a month and a half. I would have been delighted to go to your book week. Next time, it’s best to contact your Oxford rep as they will get in touch with me straight away. I haven’t been maintaining my blog with being on the road.
      Take care

  5. 11

    marian said,

    Hi Vanessa!! I love the series SUPER SURPRISE!! This year I’ll be using super surprise 5 and I was wondering wether the e-pals club in the book is real or ficticious. It would be great if it were real!!!
    Congrats for the series!!
    Mariana (from Argentina).

  6. 13

    […] 48 hours! Among the more than 40 teachers and teacher trainers, authors and academics, our very own Vanessa Reilly gave a session about achieving Harmony in the […]

  7. 14

    Emilio Cervantes said,

    Hi, Vanessa. It’s me, Emilio from Granada. it’s nice to see that you going more far every day. From Huelva to Barcelona…That’s superb! Congratulations 🙂

  8. 16

    Maria said,

    Hi Vanessa, I attended your workshop at Sevilla last week. Where can I get the gizmo (like a rot) you suggested for the activity of fishing for words? I think you mentioned Mercadona?
    Your chat was very useful. Thanks a lot.
    Best regards

    • 17

      It is the pole from a Mercadona duster with a magnet like the ones you see on kitchen cupboard doors. If you remove the plastic casing, these magnets have a hole in the middle to thread a ‘fishing line’ through. You must remember to also use the pieces of metal on either side of the magnet or it will lose its magnetism. If you go to a harware store, you can get the magnet for about 35 centimos.

  9. 18

    Dear Vanessa
    could you please write a mail to me? I’ve a question about copyright.
    Thank you!

  10. 20

    Andrea said,

    Hola, Vanessa! Hace unos meses, en mayo si no recuerdo mal, asistí a unas conferencias organizadas por Oxford University Prees en la que tú eras una de las ponentes. Me he acordado de que cantamos contigo una canción de Halloween que la veo muy adecuada para mi clase en estas fechas, pero no consigo recordar el nombre ni encuentro la canción por ningún sitio. ¿Podrías pasarme por favor el enlace o decirme dónde encontrarla? Era algo como…
    Eyes… pumpkin eyes
    Nose… pumpkin nose
    Mouthe… pumpkin mouth
    …. Happy Halloween!

    Gracias y un saludo!!

  11. 22

    Vicky Anagnostou (from Greece) said,

    Hi Vanessa!
    I have lost your email! Can you contact me to talk?

  12. 24

    Inés García said,

    Hi Vanessa¡
    I attended your last workshop in Madrid, and I found it really useful. Thanks a lot.
    But you told us we recieved all the information in our emails, but I didn´t. .
    I´m waiting for your answer..
    All the best.

    • 25

      Hi Inés,
      Is this still the case? Did you not get the information through?

      I will speak to someone in Teacher Training in OUP Madrid, as they were meant to send everything through.
      So sorry about this.
      best wishes

  13. 26

    Emily Stewart said,

    Hi! I teach at an academy in Granada and we use 3 in a Tree and Splash. I was wondering if you with be giving any workshops in our area anytime soon?

    • 27

      Hi Emily,
      I’m afraid I haven’t got anything planned at the moment. Sorry, but I will let you know if anything comes up.
      If you have any queries about either of the books though, just let me know.
      All the best

  14. 28

    Anita Lutterkort said,

    Dear Vanessa,
    I am contacting you this way as I don’t know your email, but I attended your talk last year in Cordoba, (CETA) and would like to invite you to speak at our regional TESOL Teachers´ Day in Puertollano on 25th April. It would be great if you could come and I am sure that the teachers here would appreciate and enjoy it.

    Best wishes
    Anita Lutterkort
    TESOL Area Coordinator for Castilla La Mancha

    • 29

      Hi Anita,
      Many thanks fir contacting me. I’m so sorry but I haven’t been checking my blog messages (so many emails to answer).
      I’m afraid it is a bit of a late reply. Maybe I could do something at an event in the future.
      Best wishes

  15. 30

    Liliana said,

    Hi. Vanessa.

    I´m working with Super Surprise series in Chile.
    I´d like to know if some characters have names. (SS3 ´s cat, granny, grandad,etc.) My students ask me and I promisse to look for information before giving them any answer.

    • 31

      Hi Liliana,
      As we are teaching the family vocabulary, the idea was not to overburden the children with more character names. However, as your pupils ask you, feel free to give granny, etc, names your children will feel comfortable with and that they’ll be able to remember easily – maybe names that are popular in both their mother tongue and English – Maria, Dani, Sophie (Sofi) and even Lola is now popular in the UK.

      I hope that helps.
      All the best

  16. 32

    Anita Lutterkort said,

    Hi again,

    As I still don’t know your email , please get in touch with me if you would like to speak at our next event in Puertollano in April 2016.


    • 33

      Hi Anita,
      I’ve only just checked on the messages on my blog. So sorry.

      What is the the focus of the event in April 2016? Just trying to assess if what I am working on at the moment is in line with your theme.

      Many thanks

      A very Merry Christmas to you


  17. 34

    dr. Szilvia Pelbárt said,

    Dear Vanessa!

    I’m a mom of two from Hungary. We love your book about the three friends: Cookie, Lulu and Densel. When my older child, Kris was three years old, I bought your book for him and the big playpack with flashcards and stories, CD and Lulu poster. Cookie the cat is my daughter’s favourite too, beside many other characters. Sophie’s 3 years old now, but we started your book (starter, Book A, Book B ) when she was only two. She adores it. We are making your book B.
    We are almost finished with Book B. I saw your book: Three in a tree with six units and CD/DVD Rom and downlodable material with good learning resources. Unfortunately Three in a tree is not available in Hungary (Oxford University Press). I haven’t seen this book in the mentioned shop yet.. Maybe the CD or DVD can be bought, but there’s no a playbook or activity book.

    How can I get your new book about our three friends in a tree with new stories and topics?

    I’m very interested in it. I want to go on playing with my dear Sophie in Cookie’s world. We have got a Cookie puppet and a (fat) fluffy duck to act out your lovely stories about the friends, but we miss Lulu the blue kangaroo. So I ‘ve decided to make a Lulu puppet from felt.
    We usually play a unit for 4 weeks at home. We take the story cards every day to read and do the activities 2 days per a week. I guess plus ides to every topic.

    We have been living a bilingual life, since my children were born. Son, Kris is 12 and Sophie is 3. Both of them understand and speak English very well. They are very brave at using language to communicate with others children. My boy is able to understand other languages beside English and Hungarian. He finds the codes of the languages.

    What can you recommend me after Cookie and Friends?
    What is next level? I’m looking for a playing book that can be good for my daughter. She understands on a high level, but she loves these playing books. We usually read a lot of books from Usborne and Oxford too.

    Have you published a play or an activity book after Cookie and friends?
    It would be good if you made a Cookie and friends website with games and online things similar to other book’s online websites. Maybe there is, but I haven’t guess where I can find it. If it has got, how can I get it to try? I’ve miss this possibility, since I started to use your books with my son.

    I’m looking forward to reading your answers.
    Sorry for the long comment.

    Sincerely yours,
    Szilvia dr. Pelbárt from Hungary.

  18. 35

    Dear Szilvia,
    Thanks for your message. I’m so glad you like Cookie and friends so much. Three in a tree is the same book with a different title for Spain.
    We have now brought out a book called Jump in! however in Spain it is called Splash. It is also edited by Oxford. I think you will like it as it has strong stories and songs like in Cookie and Friends. It has four characters – Frankie the frog, Dizzy the duck, Tex the turtle and Spot the ladybird, Frankie and Dizzy have similar roles to Cookie. Tex is the serious, a little like Lulu only he is a daddy-like figure. Spot has a similar role to Densel only she speaks. I think your daughter may enjoy this one.

    After the levels for younger children, I wrote Big Surprise from 1 to 6. I’m afraid my side is the writing but I guess you could ask OUP where you can get it.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to write and never apologise for long messages when they are very positive ones. What you are doing for your children sounds great. Do you listen to songs on http://www.mymissnina.com? Her Brown Bear, brown bear song to accompany the Eric Carle/Bill Martin book is particularly good!

    Warmest wishes

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