Informed by robust research evidence (see below), Eltham Church of England held its first every whole school Reading Festival in May 2021. A fabulous week celebrating reading for pleasure and allowing time to deeply immerse ourselves in poetry, mystery novels and wordless books!
We studied the following:
The Last Wild, Piers Torday
The Nowhere Emporium, Ross MacKenzie
Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets, Alex T Smith
Scarecrows Wedding, Julia Donaldson
Don’t Look in the Book, Samuel Langley-Swain
The Viewer, Gary Crew
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Chris Van Allsberg
Tuesday, Mitch Albom
The Journey, Francesca Sanna
The Tunnel, Anthony Brown
Bee and Me, Alison Jay
Where is the Starfish
Where is the Elephant?
Classic authorial study: Poetry
Lady of Shallot, Tennyson
Macavity, the Mystery Cat, TS Elliot
From a Railway Carriage, TS Elliot
Various, Christina Rossetti
Falling up, Shel Silverstein
Buckingham Palace, AA Milne
Please Mrs Butler Collection, Ahlbergs
What did our children think?
‘If it wasn’t for the reading festival, I wouldn’t have been aware of this author.’ Year 4
‘It was amazing. He (Piers Torday) signed my book and was really interested in everything we said. It was a really special day for us.’ Year 5
‘I love Alim because he tells the best stories and looks like my dad.’ Year 2
‘The Last Wild made me questions my attitudes to things. I realise it’s OK to change your mind.’ Year 6
‘The poem looked hard at first but I tried hard to reflect my feelings. I felt proud of my poem.’ Year 4
‘‘Quidditch PE was excellent; I appreciate my teacher organizing this for us’. Year 6
‘When we heard the bell we read our books together. ’ Reception
‘We wrote posters and put them up in school to find the missing toys but we haven’t found them yet. We spoke to different grownups who helped us.’ Year 2
What did our parents think?
“He was really engaged by the Reading Festival, slightly to my surprise! He really got into the book he was reading and enjoyed just being able to sit and read in class each day. His sense of pride at finishing the book was lovely to see.” Year 6 parent
“My husband tweeted a thanks to David Walliams for his book inspiration and he posted a picture of our daughter on his Instagram page and retweeted his picture. Thought you’d like to see!
Thank you for all the wonderful WOW days, all the exciting work you’ve planned and all your hard work. Our daughter has thoroughly enjoyed everything and has really grown in confidence. We can’t thank you enough.” Year 3 parent
“He loved the Mr Penguin book so much we’ve bought another in the series. Thank you for helping us to find such a brilliant new authors.” Year 1
“He was really excited and inspired by the Reading Festival. When we went past a bookshop, he wanted to go in and have a look for books that he could read. He was definitely excited about all the books on offer!” Year 6 parent
“I’m so delighted she’s at Eltham. You have got the balance right between formal lessons and giving time to promoting reading, the arts and creative learning. This is what I want for my child.” Year 4 parent
“She wished it was a reading festival every week I think. I wanted to thank you all for your effort and energy. I’m so glad she’s back where she belongs, with her friends and learning.” Year 5 parent
The Research: Why read?
There is a strong associating between the amount of reading for pleasure children say they do and their reading achievement.
Children who read for pleasure make significantly more progress in vocabulary, spelling and maths than children who read very little.
Children with a positive attitude towards reading are more likely to read at or above the expected level for their age.
Reading increase children’s understand of their own identity, improves empathy and gives them an insight into the world view of others.
Reading can make children feel more connected emotionally to the their reading partners
Here are some more photos from the reading festival.
Eltham Church of England School are making a Reading Pledge. Its aim is to ensure reading for pleasure is establish securely in our children’s lives and within our whole school community. Click here to have a look.