So, today I’ve had pretty much the most brilliantly bookish morning I could ever have hoped for (not even marred by the fact that my car failed its MOT quite comprehensively, grrrrrrrr). It was an utterly wonderful way to celebrate World Book Day 2013.
A month or so ago, I was asked if I would like to do a storytelling session at C’s pre-school for World Book Day. I didn’t just jump at the chance, I did a series of high kicks and gazelle-like leaps, then immediately started worrying about how I could possibly narrow down my options for the books I’d like to share.
Luckily, the pre-school is very tolerant of my book / reading obsession (I’ve already helped to create their library of story sacks) and they kindly said I could take over as much of the morning session as I’d like, meaning that I could use more than one book. I therefore chose three books to use with the children (and deliberately chose ones I thought they might not all have come across), but snuck in mentions of a few more with stealth-like cunning…
We started off the session talking about our costumes. C and I had had a long discussion about choosing a character that originated in a book rather than in a film or a TV series (those who’ve read any previous posts will know where this is going) as there was only one person C would even contemplate. Yep, please welcome back the fifth member of our family – Fireman Sam. In the end, we compromised and he conceded that Fireman Sam *might* have been one of the firefighters who tried to help Floyd in Oliver Jeffers’ awesome (and much loved by us) book, ‘Stuck‘. He then clutched the book with him at all times and showed it to all his friends, so mission (sort of) accomplished.
I, on the other hand, had no such conviction about my own costume as it didn’t even occur to me until last night that I should probably wear one. Given the limited timeframe, I was actually quite pleased with the end result and was even happier that I got to tell all the children about the book.
Can you guess who I am?
Yep, I dug out my childhood copy of ‘Burglar Bill‘, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg – complete with shakily handwritten name – from my loft treasures and ferreted through my mountains of stripy clothes, after which I fashioned a quick eye-mask and swag bag.
Anyway, onto the storytelling session. I was a little nervous beforehand, but I’m very fortunate to have retained a good memory for names from my teaching days, so I was able to address the children personally pretty quickly which really helped. What clinched it, however, were the totally fab books, all three of which the children seemed to go completely bananas for.
The children loved the all the different materials that Iggy uses to build his various constructions and this led really nicely into the main activities I had planned. We split the children into four groups and they each had a chance to visit each activity table. I was very conscious about not specifying any particular outcomes (the teacher in me always starts to think along those lines) as this was simply about having fun with books. As is always the case though, lots of lovely learning took place and the teachers even said they might try the food-based activity again as they thought the children had got a lot out of it. Yay!
Here’s what we did:
- Table 1 – the children could build something from Duplo / Mega Bloks / Stickle Bricks.
- Table 2 – the children could construct anything they liked from items that I’d asked all the parents to bring in out of their recycling boxes.
- Table 3 – the children had some big sheets of paper and used collage and crayons (and a LOT of extra glue) to create their own buildings. I left them with a copy of ‘You Choose’ to peruse as a stimulus, so they could look at the double page spread of buildings.
- Table 4 – the children could use spaghetti, marshmallows, breadsticks and strawberry liquorice laces to build anything they liked (I tried to recreate the suspension bridge that Iggy and his classmates built, but failed miserably).
To say this book was a hit would be MASSIVELY underselling it. I couldn’t possibly have predicted just how much the children would enter into the spirit of it and want to get physically involved (my crocodile prop played a very active role in things!) and just how rapt they would be when listening to a great story. I really love the book too and I’m sure my enjoyment of it (as well as the obligatory silly voices and actions) helped, but I was still over the moon with how excited they were.
C and H just love, love, LOVE this book at the moment and it seems that the children today felt the same way too. Each child took a turn to follow the instructions on the page (press this dot, tap that dot, shake the book, etc) and they were blown away by the ‘magical’ effects their actions were having. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and I the teachers also pointed out how cleverly it uses children’s knowledge of colours, counting and observation as well as just being stonking good FUN.
I’d love to go back and do more sessions at the pre-school if they’ll have me, although it’s probably not that practical for M to take annual leave each time to look after H as he did today. Regardless, I’ll definitely be back for World Book Day 2014 when I’ll have another year’s worth of books to choose from 🙂