By deputy headteacher Sarah Jarman
EACH March, schools all over the country eagerly celebrate World Book Day and use the annual event to promote a love of reading and recognise the wonder of stories.
At Micklehurst All Saints CE Primary, we were determined to keep the magic of World Book Day alive for all our children, despite the event falling during our most recent partial school closure.
To ensure children learning from home would have equal access to our celebration of stories, we began by launching a crafty competition that all pupils could take part in, at home or in school.
We tasked our children with creating a book character using a potato and their creations were simply ‘spudtacular’. From Paddington Bear to The Hungry Caterpillar to Elmer, the creativity of our book-loving pupils knew no bounds.
We then encouraged the children to display their spuds proudly in their windows so they could be enjoyed by passers-by.
As another special treat to help our children enjoy the day, we put together little packs of goodies containing a bookmark, a poem, a sachet of hot chocolate and their World Book Day voucher.
Families were invited to collect their packs from the school office. It was lovely to see the children’s smiles as they picked up their literary treats and looked forward to getting cosy with a hot chocolate and a good book.
This year’s national World Book Day theme was ‘Share a Story’ and to reach all of our children, we turned to technology to invite those at home to join us for some live virtual storytelling sessions with their teachers and peers.
We’ve also been embracing Twitter to inspire our pupils by tweeting authors with our questions. Year 5 were delighted when Onjali Rauf, the author of their current class novel, The Boy at the Back of the Class, responded to their tweet with a promise to answer their thought-provoking questions!
For those children in school, there was a real buzz of excitement in the air as World Book Day saw them take part in a wide range of activities inspired by some of our favourite reads and most loveable characters.
Our nursery children were quite the sight wearing their funny underpants on their heads and completing the look with some very colourful spotty faces as they explored the world of ‘Aliens Love Underpants!’
Other activities included our Year 1 taking part in a drama lesson inspired by their text ‘Not a Stick’ by Antoinette Portis, Year 4 pupils exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare and some spellbinding magic in Year 5 as the children donned the Sorting Hat to find out which Hogwarts House they belonged to.
As well as creating a wide range of experiences in school, we utilised our online learning platform to enable those children working at home to access the same high-quality learning opportunities.
Teachers provided links to live sessions and educational videos as well as engaging activities that mirrored as closely as possible what children in school were experiencing.
At Micklehurst, we place great importance on developing both the skills needed to read and a real passion for books. We know reading is vital in preparing our children for their futures and equipping them with the skills to succeed in the next stage of their educational careers and beyond.
It broadens their horizons, develops their vocabularies and introduces them to new ideas and worlds beyond their imaginations. Reading is also proven to reduce stress, improve concentration and is linked to better academic performance.
Our curriculum is designed to promote a love of reading and expose our children to as many genres and authors as possible by the time they leave in Year 6.
Our World Book Day plans this year were designed to bring our whole school community together in a safe way to celebrate the event and continue to inspire a life-long love of reading.
By embracing technology and looking for activities that could be enjoyed by all, whether at home or at school, we managed to mark the event, ignite a love of literature and create some long-lasting memories along the way.