Students and teachers enjoying Character Day during book Week this week.
We have had a stimulating and very enjoyable Book Week with a myriad of different activities taking place across primary; class book studies, story writing, designing book covers, drama and poetry, puppetry and classroom doors decorated to represent the chosen book from each class.
Throughout each day “Story Land” has been a fantastic venue for children to cosy up on a beanbag with a book, or listen to a teacher or parent animatedly bringing to life some excellent children’s fiction. Our older children have also had a really positive experience reading with our youngest students in Cubs or Key Stage 1, excelling in using their voices to animate the stories and enthralling the little ones completely.
Of course, a highlight has been today’s Character Day where all the children and staff have come to school dressed as characters from books (and a few films too!). Our usual students disappeared to be replaced with a colourful assortment of characters from traditional tales, modern fiction, myths and legends, science fiction and some original – student invented characters. The teachers too were unrecognisable with some grey haired Gangster Grannies, Willie Wonka, pirates, furry animal suits and some teachers even came in their pyjamas! Miss Meehan was even transformed into Maleficent but this proved a little too scary for some of the the Tigers and Polar Bear Cubs who started crying when they saw me!
This was a great week and, while lots of fun was had, the core purpose was to promote the value of books and reading. Children gain so much from reading. It takes them to new places, opens up their imaginations and presents new ideas to enrich their experience. It extends their vocabulary and knowledge of grammatical structures and helps them develop good study skills. It is also clear that children who read for pleasure carry the intellectual benefits with them far into adulthood. If we get children into good reading habits when they are young, they are more likely to continue to be enthusiastic readers throughout their lives and this can only be a good thing!
Nowadays there are concerns that the number of young people reading for pleasure has declined and of course there could be various reasons for this, including more time spent in organised activities, more homework, and more time spent online or using technology. As parents therefore, we want to ensure we are both encouraging and supporting our children to read by giving them access to a range of good quality books, at school and at home, and building reading routines into our daily lives.
Parents have a huge impact on their child’s motivation and ability to read and many studies show that parents reading daily to their young children results in a child’s reading being almost half a year more advanced than a child read to less than once a week. We know that parents have busy lives but parents, carers, grandparents and anyone with a child in their life can make a huge difference by reading for just ten minutes a day with them. Older children will not want you to read to them but they do like to share their books and talk about what they are reading - this helps them to recount the story, to express their opinions about the story and to develop rich oral language skills. And while we as adults might prefer traditional hard copy books, it is also important to recognise and accept that new technologies, such as e-readers, can offer easy access to books and newspapers, especially when living overseas, and are a great way to get children reading. All reading is good!
So come along to the Book Fair over the weekend and choose both yourself and your children some great new books.
Thanks to all the parents for your engagement and support in making this a great week of exciting learning for all our students.
- Niki Meehan, Head of Primary