Themed Week – Reading Festival

Picture of a child sitting on the carpet, reading a book

Reading Festival 2021


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:


Fantasy/Mystery novels

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

Wordless Book

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

Picture of a child dressed at a pilot hold their school project

“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.


Reading pledge

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.