St Benedict’s Junior School in Ealing, west London, celebrated Book Week in style at the beginning of October.
Staff and children alike were caught up in a whirl of activities centred on “Reading together: life in our books and books in our lives”.
Older children learned about the writing process from talks and workshops with author John Townsend and actor and author Chris Connaughton. Younger children were introduced by John Townsend to non-fiction writing about more unusual animals, for example the Australian water-holding frog. Mr Connaughton gave them stirring performances of “The Elves and the Shoemaker” and “The Firebird”.
West End in Schools, a theatre in education company, came and performed a musical, Jump to It, in which a girl in thrall to computer games is rescued and converted to the delights of reading and socialising with friends by storybook characters. Building on this theme the whole school stopped work on one day for half an hour as staff and children alike settled down in classrooms and corridors to read their favourite book.
New books were on offer at the book fair, supplied by the Travelling Book Company. The commission earned on sales will be used to enhance the school library and to provide books to some local school libraries which are less well provided for.
Older children shared books with younger ones, a pastime which gave great satisfaction to both parties. The top year (Year 6) even made their own charming picture books to share with the children in the nursery. An Inter-house Book Quiz with questions based on the week’s experiences rounded off the celebrations and the children sang in assembly: “Books, glorious books, we love to read them!”
Celia Sweetman, junior school librarian, who organised the week’s activities, explained the purpose of Book Week.
“Simplistically the aim has been to highlight the instruction and fun that books can supply and how they can contribute to an individual’s enjoyment of life. At a deeper level I wanted to show how books give us many of the ideas and much of the knowledge, both theoretical and practical, we have of the world, of ourselves and each other. Stories invigorate the imagination and foster social understanding, whilst the language employed in books helps us to communicate more effectively with each other.”