Book Week

The effort that goes into the Book Week will contribute to the book culture of the school if you can keep the momentum going by building on the things that inspired your pupils and school community.

There are a number of national initiatives that are held annually that focus on books and reading. You can either link in with these or hold your book week to fit in with your own school calendar.

Advance Planning for Book Week

To be successful you do need to plan in advance, ideally forming a working group that includes a representative from each Key Stage, a TA and the librarian if you have one. PTFA groups are often able to help or fund activities.

Things to think about:

  • Do you want to come off timetable for all or part of the week?
  • What is your budget? Could you raise funds earlier in the year? Could the PTFA help?
  • Will you put on activities to engage the wider community?
  • Who do you need to talk to – school council/pupil librarians, after school clubs, all school staff including MTAs, cooks, administrators, caretaker/cleaners, parents, governors – in fact the whole school community.
  • Invite visitors from the community to share favourite books or talk about how they use reading in their work.
  • Any guests authors/storytellers/poets need to be booked well in advance – think about the timing of these events – do you want to concentrate on build-up activities or follow-up activities. See our author page: Authors

How to organise an author visit

Having an author in school can be a great way to inspire and enthuse your children about books and reading. To get the most from the visit consider:

What do you hope to achieve?
Do you want to enthuse the children to read for pleasure?
Do you want them to have the opportunity to meet a favourite author whose work they have already enjoyed?
Do you want to stimulate children’s imagination for writing their own stories/poems?
Do you want to inspire them to create their own artwork/illustrations/graphic novel?
Do you want to encourage children’s oral storytelling skills and motivate them through drama?

How will the visit be funded?
Costs vary enormously but could be at as much as £450 a day plus expenses.

If the author is coming from some distance it makes sense to offset some of the costs by liaising with another local primary school or consider liaising with your Secondary school as a year6/7 transition event.

Funding/sponsorship sources:

  • PTFA
  • Literacy budget (especially if targeting an identified priority e.g. improving boys’ writing)
  • Other curriculum areas to match author’s specialism, e.g. sport or science.
  • Charging pupils
  • Local charities/trusts e.g. rotary club
  • If you need to provide overnight accommodation for your author, could you approach parents who run B & Bs, hotels, inns etc?
  • Contact your local public library or bookshop to see if they could have an event and help with costs.

Who will your author work with?

  • Can you reach all the children in the school or do you need to target certain children?
  • Do you give everyone a brief experience or do you give fewer children a more in-depth experience which may make a greater impact in the long term?
  • Will your chosen author work with both Key Stages?
  • Will your author work with large groups or prefer smaller groups?

Who will organise the event?
Have a small committee consisting of literacy/reading lead, a TA, a governor and perhaps a parent. This helps to plan from all angles and shares the workload.

Print out the author visit checklist to help you with planning.

Practical activities for book weeks

Here are some ideas to pick and choose from.

Whole school

  • Start and finish each day during Book Week with a story or poem.
  • Consider choosing a theme or linking in with a National event
  • Decorate your classroom doors to look like your favourite book cover.
  • Loobraries – Print out copies of short stories, poems, news items or jokes and put them up in the toilets for children to read. Have copies of books with toilet related themes e.g. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, Little Bo Peep has knickers that bleep by Laurence Anholt. Ask BabcockSLS for other suggestions or ask for a topic loan on this theme!
  • Put up photos of school staff reading a secret book (make a book cover with a big question mark) and display the photos in the library/central area with clues. Ask the children to guess the books, you could put a sheet of paper under each photo for children to write their name and suggested book title if you want. This could be reversed with photos of staff reading a book which covers their face and the children guess the person from the book.
  • If you didn’t use the BabcockSLS quiz for World Book Day, then you can use it for your book week.
  • Organise for classes to visit the local library, if this isn’t possible arrange for someone from the library to come into school and talk to the children about what they can find at the library. If you have a local bookshop you can arrange a visit there or they could visit the school.
  • Involve the school meal provider in creating book-themed menus for a day or the week. Examples can include The lighthouse keeper’s fish and chip lunch, Charlie’s chocolate crunch, Handa’s fruit salad. Give the menu to a group of children and get them to come up with ideas.
  • Pair up with another school and ask the children in both schools to make and write a postcard about their favourite book. The children exchange postcards with parallel year groups to encourage a child from the other school to read their favourite book.
  • Learn a poem by heart, either individually as homework or each class learns a poem to perform to the rest of the school at the end of the week. There are good websites with some great examples of poets performing their work. Try The Poetry Archive at www.poetryarchive.org.
  • Book swap: encourage the children to bring in good quality books that they no longer read.
  • Alternatively you could run a second hand book sale with money raised going towards buying new books for the school library.
  • Promote Anne Fine’s My Home Library website which provides some freely downloadable book plates for children to personalise the books they buy.
  • Reading breakfasts are a great way of involving parents with your Book Week. The idea behind this is to provide a model of good practice of how to share books with children. You will need to have at least one member of staff to do the modelling of sharing the books and a selection of quality books for parents and children to choose from and share together as part of the session. For KS2 you could have a range of picture books for older readers, poetry and non-fiction for parents and children to share together.
  • Book Autobiographies, create a display of book covers where children have photographed themselves and made up a name for their own autobiography.
  • Book at bedtime, return to school in pyjamas and with a teddy for stories and hot chocolate.

Foundation/KS1

  • Turn the role-play area into a library or book shop.
  • Create a display to show the books that children have read during this week e.g. add leaves to a tree with the title of the book, a night sky where stars are added. etc.
  • Use a picture book as a model for children making their own class or group versions.
  • Draw pictures of favourite book characters. They can then do a biography through speech bubbles. E.g. Katie Morag, Percy the park keeper. Part of the activity would be to get the children to think about questions: what do they look like? Where do they live? Who do they live with? What are their favourite things? Do they have a pet or favourite toy? What makes them happy or sad?
  • Going to the bookshop. One person in the group begins by saying I went to the bookshop and I bought… e.g. Room on the broom. Each member of the group in turn repeats the phrase and adds another book title. How long can you keep going without forgetting?
  • Greenaway award winners. Choose a shortlisted illustrator as a starting point and create a discussion using the prompts from the website. http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway/
  • Picture book maker: children can have a go at making their own simple picture books by using this free website. www.culturestreet.org.uk/activities/picturebookmaker

Years 3/4

  • Create a poll of reading interests e.g. favourite villain, best animal story, favourite poet etc. The findings can be displayed within classes or across the whole school. This can be tied in with maths lessons to analyse and present the data.
  • Read Around the World, each child makes a passport and collects a stamp for each country they have ‘visited’ by reading a book set in that country. Contact BabcockSLS for a topic box.
  • My life in books, create a bookshelf or list, the important part of this activity is to give the children plenty of time to talk about this in pairs or small groups. Choose your favourite picture book when you were little; best book you were given as a present; favourite story read to you in school; favourite book made into a film or TV programme; The teacher may need to model this first.
  • Write an acrostic based on the name of one of your favourite fictional characters. The acrostic needs to be about them and what they have done in the book. This could be a class shared writing activity. Choose a character that the children are very familiar with.
  • Using Nick Sharratt’s split-page books as a model, ask the children to create their own split page book with children working in pairs or individually to create a page each (have a ring binder and hole punch ready to contain the pages!).
  • Top trumps – children love playing top trumps and collecting cards. Instead of writing book reviews encourage your pupils to create cards from Top Trumps templates for the books they read.

Years 5/6

  • Name an author. The first person says an author’s surname e.g. DAHL and then the next person has to name an author whose surname begins with the last letter of the previous name e.g. LEWIS; the next person could then say SNICKET; the next TOLKIEN etc.
  • Who are you? A member of the group decides on a book character they know quite a bit about and gives the initial letter of their surname or name. The rest of the group take it in turns to ask them questions to which they can only answer yes or no e.g. Are you human? Are you a child? Do you have any special abilities? This could be a warm activity to writing a biography of a character.
  • Using books from the library, in groups or pairs children search for one book in each of a given range of genre. This means giving children time to browse, discuss and identify books. At the end they can justify why they have chosen a book for each genre.
  • Just a minute. Choose a non-fiction book on a subject that interests them and read it to become “an expert”. Then they must talk for 1 minute without hesitation, deviation or repetition! Adapt to suit ability.
  • Right hook – “By the time you finish this book, one of us will be dead.” (Rat heaven by Jeanne Willis) Opening the story with a “hook” arrests the reader. Children browse the library and bring together as many different examples as they can of story “hooks”.
  • Create a pintrest board on a chosen animal referencing facts, fiction titles, poems, podcasts, links and images. This could be a homework activity for the week.
  • In groups children can find extreme or interesting facts in different subject areas e.g. space travel, pets, sport, buildings, machines, and create a class book.
  • Guess the book title from the blurb. Choose books that the children are likely to have encountered in school including guided reading titles and well-known picture books. Encourage the children to talk about the blurbs and decide which books they refer to. As an extension you could invite the children to choose their own books and display the blurbs.
  • Invite the children in pairs to think of silly book titles e.g. The cliff tragedy by Eileen Dover, Easy money by Robin Banks, The dog’s dinner by Nora Bone, A hole in my bucket by Lee King, I love maths by Adam Upp. Alternatively this can be used as an activity for Gifted and Talented. These could be typed up and displayed around the school or put in the school newsletter for parent’s entertainment.
  • Match the hero to the villain, The teacher gives half the class hero and half the class villains, the children then have to find their partner. After this have class discussion about the characteristics of a hero or villain and this could be extended so that the groups can create a short comic strip using a hero and villain of their own invention.
  • Try these links to create simple comic strips
  • http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/
  • Comic creator at http://www.readwritethink.org

Making the most of Babcock School Library Service to support your Book Week

You can borrow author or genre topic boxes to supplement the school book stock. Please give as much notice as possible to ensure a good range.

Consider organising your book week to coincide with your Babcock SLS mobile library visit, phone the Willand Centre on 01392 287244 to find out when this will be.

Babcock School Library Advisers may be able to come in and run book promotion activities with your pupils and book talks with staff and parents. See the Advisory section on this website: Advisory

Useful websites and websites with free, downloadable resources

Planning for evaluation

Organising and running a school book week takes time, effort and money and it is important to evaluate its impact.

You will need a baseline assessment of children’s attitudes to reading against which you can measure the impact of the event.

If children’s attitudes to reading have improved this should also show up longer term in the results of their reading assessments.

“Beyond enjoyment, there appears to be an emerging evidence base relating recreational reading to increasing understanding of self and social identities, empathy, and knowledge of other cultures. Survey findings indicate a positive association between recreational reading and relatedness, community cohesion and increasing social capital.”

Reading Agency, Literature Review: the impact of reading for pleasure and empowerment, 2015.