Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Kensington Community Primary - I'm thrilled to be your new Patron of Reading


It was the toast that did it!
Mid-morning, halfway through my mystery-writing workshop with Y3  and suddenly the smell of hot buttered toast was wafting through the classroom. Foil-wrapped parcels of toast had appeared from the kitchens. We all tucked in, children, staff, visiting author . . . there's nothing more friendly and fortifying thing than munching on slices of toast together, especially for anyone who might have missed breakfast or had an early start. 

That's when I knew Kensington Community Primary was my kind of school!





It wasn't just the toast that won me over, of course. That was just one of the many details that stood out on my first visit, and meant that I was delighted to be invited back for three more mystery-writing days with Y3s and a lovely day with Y1 and Y2 this year. There's the happy, confident atmosphere, the obvious dedication of all the staff, the bright, welcoming classrooms, the way the children chat enthusiastially with the teachers, keen to find out, keen to share . . . I could go on!

I could tell from my first visit that this was a school where reading for pleasure and creative writing were truly valued.

And they did all the things we visiting authors dream of!  Both Y3 classes had been reading books from my Adventure Island series in the run-up to the visit. There were displays on the walls featuring the book covers and characters. The teachers and teaching assistants all got involved and took part in the activities alongside the children. The table groups had even been named after authors - including me!


It's not just self-importance that makes authors love to see all these things (honest)! We know that the children get so much more out of it when there's a buzz about the visit and they can see the adults getting excited about books too.


Shortly after my first visit, I was incredibly moved when the school sent me a DVD of an end of term performance the Y3 children had put on on the theme of mystery stories.  Seeing children dressed up as my characters, alongside Scooby Doo, Danger Mouse and Sherlock Holmes, was truly a highlight of my writing life.

So, you can imagine my delight to be invited to be Patron of Reading for Kensington Community Primary School. I jumped at the chance. They are my second patron school, joining the brilliant  North Kidlington Primary in Oxfordshire.

The Patron of Reading scheme is a great initiative that pairs authors with schools.

A Patron of Reading (PoR) is a school's special, designated children's author with whom the school forms a personal attachment  [ . . . ] to bring an exciting dimension to the school’s quest to create a buzz about books.
If you would like know more about the scheme, I wrote about it a few months ago when I announced my link with North Kidlington Primary, and you can read much more on the Patron of Reading website.

I can't wait to start work with Kensington Community Primary School. I feel that we are already great friends and that there is so much more that we can do together to promote the love of reading - to open doors by opening books - for all the amazing children in this school.

Watch this space for more news of our big launch event in June!

I hope we might even be able to forge some links between the two schools - Kidlington and Kensington (just the names already sound like a perfect match, don't they!).

In the mean time, a huge thank you to all the team at Kensington for making this happen, including  Head Teacher, Mrs K. Davies, WOW Visits Co-ordinator Miss R. Eade, Literacy Coordinator Miss A. Edwards.