Bedtime stories, authors and a pyjama day for Cliftonville Primary and Pre-School children

Book fun for Cliftonville pupils

Cliftonville Primary and Pre-School celebrated their love of books and reading in an event packed book week last week.

The school places a high value on reading for pleasure and encourages it all year long but chose to focus during this week on “Bedtime Stories.”

Throughout the week, each class received a special visitor to read them a book or short story.  These visitors comprised of parents and governors as well as teachers and sixth formers from secondary schools in the Coastal Academies Trust, of which Cliftonville Primary is a member. The children loved sharing their favourite stories and discovering some new ones.

Pre-School children were also treated to an enthusiastic retelling of “Stick Man” by Adam Taylor from online bookshop “The Classroom” when he visited to hand out free World Book Day books.  This meant that every child got to take home a new book as well as their World Book Day token.

Some lucky children from each year group also received a third book during a trip to The Margate Bookshop. Some of them used a book token to choose a book and others used the voucher to reduce the price of another book of their choice. Francesca, the owner, was on hand to give advice and book recommendations to the children.

Stories were also shared in the newly launched library after school on three of the evenings where a different teacher each day read a selection of bedtime tales to children and their families.  Max, the school dog, also got in on the book action as a selection of children from Year 2 to Year 6 took turns to read to him.  Year groups paired up in their house groups with older children reading to younger children.

A special coffee morning was held for parents and carers which was well attended. Guests all got to choose a children’s book to take home to read to their children that night and one lucky dad won a £10 book voucher in the raffle.

Visitors had the opportunity to sign up to the local library and chatted together about books and bedtime routines.  The KS2 Reading Ambassadors also visited to chat to parents about books and gave them guided tours of the new library. Parents were bowled over by the children’s confidence and enthusiasm.

The Reading Ambassadors took a central role in the planning and delivery of the week including visiting EYFS and KS1 classes to run a bookmark making workshop which was loved by the younger children.  They also created two book competitions for their peers and collected money from participants during the week.

A lucky winner from KS1 won a copy of “Mr Big” after correctly identifying it from a book illustration and a KS2 child won a copy of “A Boy Called Christmas” for correctly guessing the number of pages in the book.

The Reading Ambassadors joined forces with the school’s PTFA to run a second-hand book sale after school which attracted crowds on the playground.  In all, the child’s fundraising came to £134 which they will use to buy more books for the library. Some of the Reading Ambassadors then visited Chartwell House care home to read to the residents and were gifted a book and bookmark each.

For many children, the highlight of the week was World Book Day itself when children and staff came to school in their pyjamas or lounge wear with their cuddly toy and favourite bedtime story.  Children had a chance to share their favourite story along with a huge range of other book related activities such as quizzes and treasure hunts.

During the week, five of the year groups also enjoyed an author visit.  Reception and Year 1 loved their workshops from Thanet author and past pupil Paul Deslandes on his book “The Garden Monster” and Year 3 thoroughly enjoyed an assembly by author Sam Gayton which was followed by writing workshops where the children created their own heroes and villains.

Year 2 had a great time in their virtual visit from prize-winning author Swapna Haddow where they explored her latest book “Little Dinosaurs, Big Feelings”.  Swapna described the children as “absolute superstars”. Year 5 were starstruck in their visit from author Thomas Taylor who writes the Eerie-On-Sea series of which the children are currently studying the first book: “Malamander”.

He shared his inspiration for his writing and showed the children some amazing artefacts he has found beachcombing.  Some of the children presented him with fan mail letters they had written and he went away with copies of some of their writing of their own imagined chapter of “Malamander”.  He described the children as “a thoroughly lovely and sparky bunch”.  Years 4 and 6 will each have their own author visit later in the school year.

The week was organised by Assistant Headteacher Julie Mayhew who leads English in the school.  She said: “We know that reading for pleasure is the biggest indicator of children’s future success and we are passionate here at Cliftonville about giving them opportunities to discover a love of reading.

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“The children and staff had a wonderful week and we are especially proud of the Reading Ambassadors who have worked so hard and shown such great leadership skills.”