When Boundary Primary asked if I would be their ‘Patron of Reading‘ for the academic year 2016 – 2017, I jumped at the chance. I felt honoured that the staff thought I could impact in a positive way on the children’s reading over the course of the year. My author visits across the North West will still continue, but I will take on a specific role at Boundary. I’m relishing the fantastic opportunity.
I have visited the school on numerous occasions and I’ve already been to share ‘More Impossible Tales’ with the Key Stage 2 pupils. The photographs from the visit feature on the school website.
We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline and I’ll post updates about my visits on this page.
Parents and carers were invited into school for a coffee morning. After coffee and cake, I introduced myself and spoke about my role in school and what it would involve. I also offered some ideas about how to engage the children in home reading and highlighted the importance of quality reading time at home. Hopefully some of the ideas will prove useful. It was lovely to meet some of the parents and carers.
I spent two mornings sharing stories in assembly and writing with Year 5. The theme for the half term was ‘Space’ so I created a fictional tale about an alien encounter I had in 1986 whilst out on my paper round! The KS2 pupils listened so well during the storytelling assembly. I then spent the rest of the morning creating alien descriptions with 5C. The following day, I returned to share the alien story with the fantastic KS1 pupils and to write with 5A. It was great to spend time in school and I must say, the pupils were out of this world!
It was lovely to join Year 4 on the first day of the new half term for a morning of storytelling and writing. The plan was for the pupils to rewrite one of my Tales. After much thought, we decided on ‘Fish Out Of Water’, so I put on the storytelling waistcoat to perform the story for the pupils. The children listened ever so well and then returned to class for some writing action. The first part of the morning was spent with 4S. We pulled apart my opener and the children planned and wrote their own version. Their ideas were ace! After break, I joined 4J and we repeated the session. I had a great time writing with both of the Year 4 classes and I can’t wait to take a look at their writing next time I visit.
As it had been a while since my last visit, I was especially excited about leading the Key Stage 2 assembly. The children got to a ‘world exclusive’ as I shared the blurb for my next book, Eric Appleby: Danger Zone. I was really pleased to see lots of hands raised when I asked if any of the children would like to read the book when it’s launched later this year. I then put on the storytelling waistcoat to share one of the first Impossible Tales I wrote, ‘Junk From The Trunk’. It’s one of my favourites to perform and the children listened beautifully as we tangled with a particularly nasty pirate and even ended up walking the plank! It was an absolute pleasure to lead the assembly and promote reading for pleasure.
It was lovely to return after the Easter break. The afternoon started with a Q&A session in Year 5. The pupils are studying different authors and illustrators, so I was honoured to be invited in to answer lots of questions about life as a writer. I look forward to seeing the children’s writing when they have written up their notes.
After setting up in the hall, I led an assembly with the Key Stage 2 pupils. I raided my bookshelf and gathered together a collection of children’s books that I have recently read. My aim was to promote reading for pleasure and I loved sharing books by Abi Elphinstone, Maz Evans, Peter Bunzl and M.G. Leonard to name but a few. To finish the session, I put on my storytelling waistcoat to share one of my stories from More Impossible Tales. It features a crime-fighting wig and it was only the second time I’ve ever performed it. The pupils seemed to enjoy it and that’s the main thing. To cap off a top day, I heard later that some of the pupils went straight to their local library to loan books, both mine and those of other authors I’d mentioned. Magic!
It was fab to lead a whole school assembly. To start the session, I shared some more of my favourite books with the children. I had a real variety of books including short stories by Paul Jennings, The Girl of Ink and Stars and The Twits to name but a few. I love sharing some of my favourite reads with the kids. Hopefully they will pop into the library again and pick up some books themselves. I couldn’t visit without sharing one of my own Tales, so I put on the storytelling waistcoat and shared a story about a sea creature that visits a seaside town. The kids were ace and I had a spectacular time.
During May, I worked with both Year 6 classes. We created nasty characters and looked at ‘showing not telling’. We tried to describe the character through his appearance and his actions, plus the reaction of the other children in the story. The pupils worked really well and I was fortunate enough to pop back later in the week to read some of their edited work. It blew my socks off!