The Importance of reading for children at GDST
At the GDST, we understand the importance of reading and the magic of storytelling for children. This is why we set up Adventures in Bookland, an online book club for junior students across our family of 25 schools. Launched during Covid lockdown in February 2021, it was a way of lifting spirits, celebrating the magic of books, creativity and make-believe, and sparking the excitement of entering the parallel universe of stories, tales, poems and fables.
Since then, there have been a number of live and interactive virtual sessions with well-loved children’s authors as guest speakers. We have welcomed Dame Jacqueline Wilson who talked about her book The Primrose Railway Children, inspired by E.Nesbit’s timeless classic. Other authors and illustrators that have taken part in the series include Ross Welford (Time Travelling With A Hamster, What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible) delivering a live opening session, Clara Vulliamy (Dotty Detective, Marshmallow the Cat) and Fleur Hitchcock (Clifftoppers, Murder at Twilight) recording presentations, Penny Chrimes judging writing competitions and Cat Doyle, talking about why she decided to retell A Christmas Carol.
In February, to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight and explore environmental issues, pupils will enjoy a storytelling session and activity focussing on Anna Wilson’s Picture Book, The Wide, Wide Sea.
On 7th December, Cat Doyle brought a different sort of magic to our book club: the Christmas kind. Her book Miracle on Ebenezer Street, a reworking of A Christmas Carol, features a visit to a curiosity shop that results in a little boy embarking on an adventure with a grumpy reindeer and a mischievous elf.
We were pleased to extend an invitation to Cat Doyle’s event to local state schools that have close and ongoing partnerships with our family of 25 schools. ‘It was wonderful to connect with so many pupils with my event with GDST,’ said Cat, ‘and spread some Christmas cheer and festive magic this December!’
On 15th October 2021, Dame Jacqueline Wilson delighted and inspired Years 4-5 across the GDST with her 115th book, The Primrose Railway Children, a reimagining of E. Nesbit’s classic.
Jacqueline Wilson spoke of the importance of reading to children, not only when they’re very young but also as teenagers, an approach central to Adventures in Bookland which encourages pupils to read aloud and to engage with the spoken word.
To mark National Friendship Day on 30th July 2021, pupils in year 3 and 4 enjoyed a reading of The Adventures of Beekle by its author Dan Santat. The story follows a boy and his imaginary friend doing unimaginably marvellous things together.
On 10th June 2021, to mark Empathy Day, the GDST collaborated with Penny Chrimes (author of Tiger Heart and The Dragon And Her Boy) to produce a video presentation with a unique take on seeing life from another’s perspective.
To mark Fairtrade Fortnight, junior school pupils learned about sustainability by hearing the story of Phoebe Gilman’s Something from Nothing. Phoebe explored where clothes come from and the value of recycling.