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World Book Day

A host of heroes, heroines and villains were out in force when schools across the West Norfolk Academies Trust celebrated World Book Day on Thursday 7 March.

At Gaywood Primary, children arrived to class dressed as characters from the books of their year group’s chosen author.

Reception pupils were inspired by David McKee’s Elmer the Elephant, while Year 1 drew from the works of Julia Donaldson, creator of The Gruffalo as well as Room on the Room and a host of other popular favourites.

Year 3 children chose from Roald Dahl’s many classics, while Year 4 dressed as Cressida Cowell’s Viking hero Hiccup and his friends, Year 5 took their pick from the works of David Walliams, and Year 6’s author was Harry Potter creator JK Rowling.

Over at Clenchwarton Primary, children and staff also arrived dressed as their favourite fictional characters for the annual charity event, which first took place in 1998. 
As well as classroom-based World Book Day activities, the pupils enjoyed a whole-school assembly, where they were able to take part in a ‘Character Walk’ to showcase their costumes and chosen books.

The school also marked the occasion with ‘The Big Read’, where children and staff came together to read for 10 minutes, either individually or as a class.

“This meant that nearly 200 children and over 20 members of staff were all reading at the same time,” said Charlotte Howells, Assistant Headteacher at Clenchwarton.

“World Book Day is important to us, as it gives the children the opportunity to step inside a book and become one of their favourite characters.”
And a host of colourful characters met at the school gates at West Lynn on Thursday.

Book-themed activities throughout the day included The Great Big Footy Book Quiz, spotlights on specific books and authors, a best costume competition and a whole-school assembly.

There was also the launch of a sponsored Readathon, and plenty of time for reading and shared stories.

“At West Lynn, we celebrated World Book Day to celebrate authors, books and reading,” said Rachel Daws, English Lead at the school. “It encourages our pupils to read for pleasure and get excited about reading.”

In celebration of World Book Day, staff at Walpole Cross Keys Primary came to school dressed as the iconic children’s characters, which included Mr Happy, Mr Greedy, Mr Tickle, Little Miss Sunshine and Little Miss Trouble among many others, which were created by the late author Roger Hargreaves in books first published over 50 years ago in 1971.

Children across the school were also invited to dress as their favourite fictional creations for the annual charity event, which provides pupils in full-time education across the UK and the Republic of Ireland with tokens to purchase their choice from a selection of £1 books.

Prizes were awarded for the best costumes in a World Book Day assembly, where Walpole Cross Keys also launched a week-long ‘Readathon’ challenge to encourage its young readers.

The children had the opportunity to create their own stories too, with each teacher sharing the opening of a mystery plot that class members then had to use their imaginations to complete.

The day closed with a ‘reading for pleasure’ session, which allowed staff and pupils alike to enjoy their favourite books.

“World Book Day is really important, as it helps to celebrate our love of books and reading, and allows us to come together to celebrate and share our learning together,” said Billy Overton, Assistant Headteacher at Walpole Cross Keys.

“We strive to develop a healthy appetite for reading and ensure all our children read for both purpose and pleasure.”
It wasn't just the primary schools at the Trust that got involved with World Book Day.
At Springwood High, World Book Day expanded into a week-long literary extravaganza, when the Lynn school held its first ever reading Festival.
Students across all age groups took part in the book-themed event, where activities included a sponsored Year 7 and 8 ‘readathon’ to raise money for the Read for Good charity, and a Key Stage 3 visit from children’s author and illustrator Chris Priestly, whose books include the Tales of Terror series and Tom Marlowe adventures.

There was also a shadowing group for the Carnegie Medal book award shortlist, where students were able to read and discuss the prize contenders, before voting for a winner.

“Students had the opportunity to read the shortlisted books, meet and discuss them, and then vote for the book they feel deserves the medal this year,” explained Nina Elvin, Reading Lead at Springwood. “We will submit these results to Carnegie for part of their ‘reader’s choice’ winner.”

On World Book Day itself, a ‘Masked Reader’ contest tasked students to identify staff members who read excerpts from their favourite books with their voices disguised, while other competitions included book reviews and  book jacket designs.

Further activities across the week featured reading challenges and quizzes, book-related crafts, an escape room and a scavenger hunt.
And Smithdon High, held its third annual Literary Festival, with this year’s event extending over a two-week period for the first time. The Hunstanton school’s celebration of all things book-related incorporated World Book Day on 7 March, and included a wealth of themed events and visits.

The Hunger Games Day saw the school’s library transformed into fictional Panem, the North American country featured in the dystopian trilogy, which was written by American author Suzanne Collins and comprises The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

Various activities centred around the districts in the series, and there was also a Scavenger Hunt based on the books.

World Book Day itself saw staff and students alike dress as their favourite fictional characters, while aspiring writers could take part in the school’s 500-word short story competition, and creative types had the opportunity to craft their own bookmarks.

Budding journalists from Year 9 honed their skills on Journalism Day, when reporter Chris Bishop from The Eastern Daily Press put them through their paces, and Cambridge professor Claire Wilkinson also paid a visit to the school, where she gave an interactive lecture on art in literature to a group of Year 9 and 10 students.

LGBTQ fiction writer Simon James Green, whose works include Noah Can’t Even, Noah Could Never and the Carnegie-nominated Alex in Wonderland, was another Festival visitor, hosting a workshop for a group from Year 7 and 8.

Organised by Smithdon’s librarian, Marie Taylor, the event was supported by staff across the school, including ICT Teacher Sam Fairweather, who presented a session on newspaper page layout, Deputy Head Sarah Robinson, who answered questions at the Journalism Day press conference, and Head of English, Amanda Wright.

“Reading is central to our lives,” said Ms Wright. “World Book Day and our Literary Festival give us the opportunity to celebrate the written word and characters who help to shape us.”

“The buzz around books initiates conversations about books that are important to us,” she added.  “We want students to feel confident discussing texts that are important to them, whether the character is a fictional creation or a person of inspiration.

“In the past, I dressed as a fictional character. This year, however, I dressed as ultramarathoner and author Sally McRae.

“Her message is about choosing strength over fear in every situation in life, and, as a teacher, that’s what I want to inspire in my students.”
Competitions, activities and visits extended over the course of a week when students of all ages at Marshland High participated in events around the annual celebration

Years 7, 8 and 9 took part in a book cover design competition and a task which challenged them to identify a reading member of staff. They also listened to a reading of The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.

Others pitted their wits in the National Literacy Trust’s National Reading Champions Quiz, which the school had entered for the first time.

Literary visitors to Marshland over the week included journalist and sports reporter Gavin Caney, who gave a talk on his work and careers in journalism and marketing, and Marie Tierney, author of the critically acclaimed Deadly Animals, who spoke about the writing process and her experience of being published.

The week came to a close with ‘Following the Story’, where students across the school were given extracts from short stories to piece together during the course of the day.

“World Book Day is a great opportunity to spend time celebrating reading, and its importance not just in our education but the rest of our lives,” said Joe Clark, teacher at Marshland. “Everyone is able to get involved, engage in new activities, and have fun.”