What have we got planned?
In September, we have plans for our very own Reading Festival. Among the many events we have planned here is a selection:
In October, all children from Classes 1-6 will be attending Cheltenham Literature Festival. They will have the opportunity to attend workshops ran by fantastic authors they are likely to encounter on their reading journey through school, as well as attending story telling sessions and investigate MG Leonard's mystery trail. Many thanks to the PTA who will be financing the cost of the travel.
What have we been up to this year?
The LiteraSee Project
This June saw the culmination of our first LiteraSee project. In collaboration with our local library and the Churn group, we have been working on an intergenerational community project. Children in school have been busy reading and producing artwork based on the classic text, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The children then had the opportunity to read aloud, present their work and discuss the book with a group of dementia sufferers at the Memory Cafe in Cirencester. The children and the visitors of the memory cafe then had the chance to do some artwork together, making bookmarks and then flower and seed gifts were exchanged. In this way, we have shared the joy of reading across generations and built links within the community.
This is a trial project, which, if successful we hope will roll out to other libraries and schools in the county. Meanwhile, we are already looking forward to our next project ...
Year of Reading
This May, in partnership with other South Gloucestershire schools, we have launched a Year of Reading. Each school is working in collaboration to provide a menu of Reading focussed activities for children and teachers, with the aim of promoting reading for all. As part of this endeavour, we have just chosen our Reading Ambassadors, who will lead activities within school. These children attended the launch at the Barn Theatre with award-winning author, Christopher Edge and took part in a 'Flash Read'. Look out for this in the local paper.
Read for Good
Our reading ambassadors were very excited this week to unbox a fantastic collection of new books thanks to the charity Read for Good, who, as you may remember from our sponsored read last year, provide books and story telling sessions for children in hospitals. This Brilliant Box of Books has been carefully curated to appeal to a range of reading abilities and tastes. Among the many great titles, we are lucky to now have a lovely set of Tom Percival books (which Class 1 will be eager to see having read 'Ruby's Worries' in term 4). There is also a lovely set of Little People, Big Dreams books where the children can learn about and from so many courageous advocates and inspiring people. Look out for all these new titles in the library and in class libraries too. This Brilliant Box of books will help us to provide titles that appeal to children, making them intrigued, excited and inspired to read!
On Friday 21st April we welcomed Elka Evalds, author of Granny Magic into school. She spent the whole day with us, providing interactive story telling sessions for Classes R, 1, 2 and 3 as well as an engaging whole school introduction to her book. Elka tantalised the children, using poems and props to bring the beginning of her story to life. This left the children chomping at the bit to read her book. The library copy, which Elka generously donated, never even made it to its destination as it was swiftly snatched up by an eager child en route! Lara was also lucky to receive a free copy of the text for winning Elka's character competition. Elka was thrilled that so many people read the snippets we gave so carefully to create some amazing art work. Look out for Granny Magic, once it returns to the library.
On Thursday 20th April Jess Butterworth visited classes 5 and 6 for an interactive session, to tie in with Earth Day on Saturday. Jess talked about the things that inspired her and encouraged the children to identify where they can get inspiration from. The very next day, one parent thanked the school for organising the session because it was so engaging that her daughter has now decided to be author herself! We can't wait to welcome her back to school in ten years time bringing her stories to life as Jess did.
On Wednesday 8th March we had Alex Bellos, famed author of The Football School Series, visiting to do an assembly, book signings and to do workshops with each of classes 2,3,4,5 and 6 in turn. What a lot of fun we had!
In November we were joined by author Lucy Hope who talked to us all about her inspiration for writing the books 'Fledgling' and 'Wren'. Classes 5 and 6 were then lucky to spend time with Lucy in a writing workshop.
This March we were lucky to be invited into WH Smiths for a book shopping experience. The children were welcomed into the shop, where they met staff, got to serve customers and best of all got to browse, choose and purchase a selection of books for our library. So pleased were the children, with their new purchases, they settled down outside and devoured entire chapters before going home. Look out for lots of new titles arriving on the shelves.
World Book Day
To celebrate World Book Day this year, we chose not to dress up. While dressing up can be fun, this year, we wanted to make our World Book Day all about the reading and the books themselves (and avoid unnecessary expense for parents feeling pressure to buy costumes).
Our activities included:
Teachers will be donned digital masks and shared the blurbs of some of their favourite books for the children to guess. Amazingly, Anna in Year 4 guessed 15 out of 16 correctly! Well done Anna - you know your books and your teachers.
It was great to celebrate all the fantastic reading across the school with our Reading only merits, more children completing their Read around the world challenge and our first Word Millionaires Bronte (Class 3) and Mila (Class 6).
This year, with thanks to WH Smiths, instead of the children taking home a book token to be lost in the bottom of their bag, all children had the opportunity to visit our pop-up book shop and simply take a book.
In their book share time, children were offered a menu of stories and have their choice of classroom to visit for their end of day story. It was particularly good to see children visiting classes, taking their new world book day books with them and enjoying following along with the teachers.
We are always looking for new and innovative ways to get all our children to love reading. Here’s the latest fun idea:
Dads, grandads, uncles, big brothers and cousins … we would like to invite you to come in and surprise your child (and their class) by being one of our mystery readers in one of our book share times at the end of the school day.
Male reading role models are critical for transforming boys into readers. Boys at this age pay close attention to the men in their lives and need to see that reading is valued by them.
To join in with this initiative simply speak to your child’s teacher to arrange a mutually convenient date.
Worried you don’t know what to read? Or don’t have a suitable book? Don’t worry, your class teacher can provide you with something suitable that you can even have in advance (in case you want to practise your voices!)
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.
‘Read around the World’ is our new Reading Challenge for the whole school. We hope that this will offer all of our children a fun framework for reading for pleasure, which we know can boost academic success and personal wellbeing.
The objective of this challenge is to read 9 books set in different countries around the world. In this way, children can get a glimpse of cultures that may be different to our own, highlighting the similarities and differences in the way we live and the problems we may face. This is increasingly important if we are to enable our children to become successful global citizens in today’s highly interconnected world.
To take part, children choose a book from another country and read it. If you are looking for book ideas, check out the diversity section of the Books for Topics website: Booklists: Diverse and Inclusive Books for Primary Schools (booksfortopics.com) Once they have completed their book, they (with your help) should write the title and author of the book, the date it was read and the country it was set in. They should then find the country on the map and colour it in, creating a key to link it to the map. Once they have completed all 9 books they should bring their sheet to their class teacher, who will ask them some questions about which books they enjoyed most and why and which countries they were based in. Children who successfully complete the challenge will be awarded a certificate and small prize in merit assembly.
Meet some of our amazing reading volunteers, who are a vital part in helping us to bring the joy of reading to our children!
These enthusiastic volunteers offer their free time to regularly listen to our children read. If you have any time to spare, you could be part of our amazing reading squad. Each year we invite a team of enthusiastic volunteers to spend a little time regularly with our children listening to them read. This time is crucial, not only to give children additional reading practice, but also to help children feel valued as readers.
If you think you would like to join our reading squad, please speak to, or email the office firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to what a couple of our children think about having volunteers in to hear them read.
Join our poetry club on Mondays after school to explore share and learn some great poems together.
Poetry By Heart is a national poetry recitation competition and website for teaching and learning poetry - by heart, out loud, with choice. Last year we had great success with our entries to the competition, even having a national finalist who attended an all-expenses paid Finalists’ Celebration Event at Shakespeare’s Globe at the Southbank, London. It was a great achievement to reach this stage of such a prestigious national competition - let's see if we can do it again this year!
Entries have now closed. Look out to find out how you did.
Fancy a story?
Listen to some of our classes who read and recorded stories for the younger children. Which is your favourite?
After so many staff shelfies, we are turning it over to the children. How well do we know each other from our choice of books? If your child would like to be one of our mystery shelfie owners please send in a photo to email@example.com of their selection of books. Look out for the shelfie appearing in the library and in the newsletter.
Thank you to all the children who joined in with the Read for Good Sponsored Read. We raised £332.50 for children in hospitals to receive story telling opportunities and we have received a voucher, enabling every class to choose their own book for their class library.
Well done Stratton!