March marks the 15th annual World Book Day, an event which celebrates reading and puts the spotlight on literacy. It aims not only to entertain children, but highlight to parents the importance of reading with your child.
Last year, children in over twenty countries worldwide took part in a variety of events, joined by some of most beloved children's authors. With over half a million children expected to participate, there's a good chance that your school will be getting involved.
Here's how to hold a great World Book Day at your school:
Get hold of an official resources pack
The World Book Day website offers a plethora of ideas, guidance and resources such as posters which can be used to make the day a success. It suggests holding a themed assembly for the whole school, to explain what the day is all about, staging a treasure hunt where books are hidden around the classroom or acting out scenes from a popular book. The pack also provides book tokens for each child (great prizes for a fancy dress competition - see below), which they can exchange for any of the special £1 World Book Day books or put towards any other book of their choice.
Have a fancy dress competition
Inspire your class to think about their favourite stories by launching a fancy dress competition for the day. Ask children to dress up as a character from a book and maybe say a few words about why they chose that character or what it is they love so much about the story; it could prompt class mates to pick up the book themselves. Perhaps give parents some ideas of World Book Day costumes ahead of time, such as Harry Potter, Spiderman or the eponymous Matilda. Bringing characters to life can really help boost enthusiasm for reading.
A book exchange
Another idea from the official website is to hold a book exchange. Like a bring and buy sale, ask children to bring in any books they've read, outgrown or no longer want which they can then swap for an alternative. The site suggests that left-overs can then be added to the school library.
Get some guest readers
The day is all about reading, but to make the prospect of reading at school a little more exciting, why not try and get hold of a special guest to read to the class or school? It doesn't hurt to try and secure a local author for the day, but if this proves a little hard, then why not ask a prominent member of the community - the town Mayor, for example?
Capitalise on the interest shown on World Book Day and keep the momentum for reading going even further by setting up a book club. Ask children to review the books you read and to suggest the next ones on the reading list. This is quite an adult approach to reading and one which older children might really appreciate and enjoy.
There are plenty of resources available for schools; that plus a good dose of imagination should result in a great World Book Day this year. Don't forget to dress up as your favorite character too!
Liz Smythe is an avid reader of romantic fiction and can whittle away hours with nothing but a book and a glass of wine. She's also a big party-goer and enjoys dressing up just as much as the kids do. Liz writes on behalf of boys and girls fancy dress supplier A2Z-Kids.co.uk.