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Children and staff across the whole school have embraced World Book Day this year with author visits, literary-themed costumes, staff recitals, book donations and dedicated time to read.

The day sums up the spirit of our academic aim this year, to promote the benefits of reading for pleasure.

During the week, Pre-Prep children enjoyed several author visits to inspire their love of reading. Among the guests was Elizabeth in Y5 of the Junior School (above), who has written and illustrated her own book, Clever Bunnies. Elizabeth visited the three Reception classes, where she read them a story, showed them a recipe for carrot muffins, and called in the real-life Clever Bunny to hand out carrot seeds to plant.

Junior School library assistants, who help with the day-to-day running of the library, hosted assemblies to promote the event, as well as designing posters to promote reading for pleasure and their favourite book series. Under the theme of ‘bedtime stories’, pupils dressed in their favourite pyjamas and onesies, with quiet reading time set aside to indulge in a book of their choice.

Senior School staff shared their enthusiasm for books by dressing as a range of literary legends and offering readings in the library during breaktimes and lunch. Members of the classics department presented a declamation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Central Hall, which took place across the whole day.

Our pupil-led charity committee organised a book drive for the Children’s Book Project, who gift donated books to targeted communities across the Capital to widen access to reading for disadvantaged children. Financial donations were collected for Book Trust UK, a charity that aims to bring the benefits of reading to children in the greatest need.

Lauren Johnston, our Junior School Librarian, concludes: “As an English department we see first-hand how reading for pleasure is one of the most beneficial activities a child can choose to do.

Not only does a pupil’s written work improve, due to their exposure to accurate spelling and grammar and a variety of vocabulary, but also their willingness to consider situations from different points of view.

Their discovery of worlds beyond their own through reading broadens their horizons, and novels featuring identifiable protagonists allow pupils to reflect on what they might do or how they might feel in that character’s shoes. Empathy is one of our core values as a school, so making time for reading, to set it up as a habitual activity, is something that we can be proud of striving to do.”