World Book day is always a long-awaited celebration in the school’s yearly calendar. However, here at Our Lady’s we extended our celebrations to include the whole week and called it World Book Week. During the week, we participated in a whole range of activities that would help us to further develop our love of reading and continue to build a reading culture within our school for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.
Organising such an event can be time consuming, and so preparations began well in advance. At the end of January our P5 class wrote letters of invitation and sent them to people involved with education at a city level. Some of those people included the Lord Provost, the Executive Director of Children and Families Services, the Chief Executive of Dundee City Council and the Convener of Education. They also invited those with close links to our school, including members of the Libraries Service, people from the Greylodge Settlement and cluster Head Teachers from nursery, primary and secondary sectors. It was so popular that some people were contacting me to ask if they could come along and be a part of our special week!
So what was the invitation? Well, it’s simple. The children wanted people to come into school and read them stories. For the children in P1-P3 they read a selection of picture books while for those in P4-P7 they read a chapter or two from a novel that the class was currently enjoying. Over the course of the week, we welcomed 22 readers into our school, some of whom read to more than one class. That meant that most classes enjoyed the company of eight readers over the five days. Incredible!
I used a timetable and split each session into 15 minutes. As the emails and phone calls came in, I assigned readers to classes and entered the times onto the timetable. It was a tricky task to ensure that timetables for shared resources and areas, such as the ICT timetable and the PE teacher, were not affected. The difficulty was that we also had to fit the times around when each reader was able to come to school, but with a little bit of creativity and perseverance, it worked!
Reading in many languages
Our school community is a very rich one with varying backgrounds and differing cultures. We wanted to use that to provide additional experiences for all of our children. We tapped into the expertise of our parents and welcomed native speakers of French, Italian and Polish to visit our classes and read to the children in these languages. In fact, this was so well received that our parents will now be visiting on a weekly basis to read to groups of children! Three staff tutors of the Pan-Tayside 1+2 Approach visited and read to all seven classes in French, one of the favourites being Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo:
“Un gruffalo? C’est quoi un gruffalo?”
“Comment, vous ne connaissez pas le gruffalo!”
Find out more about how we continued to celebrate reading in our next blog: Planning a Week of Reading Activities...