Patron of Reading Launch

A few months ago I became Patron of Reading for Kensington Community Primary School in Liverpool. I'm already patron for another great school (North Kidlington) but I'd visited Kensington several times over the years and had been so struck by the amazing energy and love of learning at the school that I was happy to take on a second one.

I had great fun working with the amazing team at Kensington to put together an exciting launch day. First, there was a writing competition for all the children in the school; they wrote about the character from a book they'd most like to spend a day with. The teachers selected a shortlist of entries from each class for me to pick out a winner and runner-up. I loved reading all the entries - even though it was almost impossible to pick winners - they were all so good. Here are just a few of the shortlisted entries from Y1 and Y2.

On the day itself we had a big assembly to announce the winners and runners up.

Each was presented with a special certificate and a framed illustration from one of the Adventure Island books. They also had chance to meet the boys from Liverpool FC Academy, who were there to launch their reading partnership with their school.

Linking books and football - what a great way to promote reading for pleasure as a cool thing for everyone to do. The young footballers all read stories with the Y1 and Y2 children and did a great job. They were brilliant reading role models.

I spent the rest of the morning talking about reading and writing with the Y5 and Y6 competition winners and runners up, while the Y3 and Y4 children had a lovely Roald Dahl themed art workshop.  After lunch the fun just kept on coming. I accompanied all the winners and runners up to Waterstones in Liverpool (along with two of the teachers, of course!) where they were able to choose their own book prizes. It was a hot sunny day when we left school in the minibus, but as we parked the skies opened in a torrential downpour. We were all drenched by the time we reached Waterstones.

Luckily the manager of the children's department didn't seem to mind us dripping all over the books  and greeted us with a lovely welcoming talk before giving us the run of the whole floor. It was so exciting. Some of the children knew exactly what they wanted and made a beeline for David Walliams or Frozen, while others (like me!) enjoyed browsing and being spoiled for choice!

It was a fabulous launch day. We have lots more exciting plans for the future and I'm really looking forward to working with everyone at Kensington School to share the gift of reading for pleasure with all the children there.

One thing I'll be doing is sending a special newsletter to both Kensington and North Kidlington Schools every half-term, including book recommendations from the Adventure Island characters. One of the highlights of my day at Kensington was seeing the fabulous life-size models of Jack, Scott, Emily and Drift they've had made to display the recommended books. Don't they look spectacular!