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The Value of Books

What a lovely start to the new academic year. The Indian Summer (if we forget the first two days) has now descended  ensuring a golden start to the term. Little children love to learn inside and out and everywhere you go at St Christopher’s children are engaged and enchanted learning the very beginnings of their reading and writing skills or revisiting and extending these skills with joy and discovering the next level of challenge.

Books are gateways into magical worlds where we can be transported for a little time away from ours. Learning to read is the key to the door of these worlds and as children master it  their eyes get wider and their smile broader. There are endless debates about whether boys find early reading as easy to access as girls and indeed whether boys can only be tempted into reading through non-fiction.

At our school the key to inspiring all children to read is making the learning activity ‘irresistible’’ a theme extended across our curriculum. This means treasuring the favourite classics at the same time as researching new children’s books and exciting new authors to enchant our tiny readers. I have just purchased Clare Pollard’s new book ‘Fierce Bad Rabbits’ tales behind the history of children’s picture books and it is a fascinating read with facts about authors of some of my favourite books.

Whatever we are doing it is certainly working as boys and girls in equal measures cherish books and can be found absorbed in a book at any given opportunity. In Assembly last week I read the children the Greek Myth about Persephone. The purpose is to explore beliefs and hear how the Ancient Greeks made sense of the four seasons. As I watched the children’s faces hooked on every word I was reminded of the power of story telling. I then ended the week feeling like a child myself as part of the audience for Stephen Fry’s performance of Mythos at The London Palladium. The stage was ‘filled’ with a solitary armchair and in it the talented Mr Fry narrated without a single prompt the wonders of the Greek Myths and as he did my eyes grew wider and my smile grew broader and I was reminded of just how special it feels to just listen to the story teller and be taken to those enchanted lands. With my soul replenished I can’t wait for next week to choose a new story to share at school. What a wonderful job I have!

Annie Thackray