A Wonderful Celebration of Books

There were Oompa Loompas, Wally, Harry, Winnie, Biggles, a boy in a dress, Henry ( the Horrid one), Hermione, Cats in Hats, Alice and in lots of ways, a bit of a reading “Wonderland’. We had such an inspiring day including lots of reading (sharing big books and little books with children who were in different classes) and talking about our favourite books, ,meeting authors and illustrators and best of all, being authors and illustrators!

We welcomed Andy Stanton and Peter Bailey to our school to help us celebrate books.

Andy Stanton writes the Mr Gum books and as well as being an amazing writer, it turns out that he is a very funny and clever man. He spoke to all the pupils in key stage 2 about writing, books, imagination and being creative. We think he is possibly our favourite speaker ever and we laughed and smiled so much. Thank you Andy for visiting us, signing books and being inspiring!

We were lucky enough to also welcome Peter Bailey. Peter is a truly wonderful illustrator and we have so many of his beautifully illustrated books in our library. Peter was so generous with this gift, drawing pictures with the children and lots of children were so pleased to have a beautiful picture in their art books. Thank you Peter- we have lots of budding illustrators in the school now!

Thank you to Mr Windle and Mrs Jenkins for organising all the super visitors, the ‘big book, little book’ and the art activities that the children enjoyed yesterday.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Knife and Packer!

This week, to celebrate World Book Day, Barkis Class went to the National Portrait Gallery to meet the writer-illustrator team Knife and Packer. The children had the exciting opportunity to create characters with the authors, and all draw their own cartoon version of them. We then went into the gallery, where the children created their own illustrated heroes and wicked villains in response to the gallery portraits. If you’re enjoying these fantastic illustrations at home, your child could write a story featuring their characters!

Don’t forget that we will be welcoming two more author/illustrators to Charles Dickens Primary next Wednesday when we celebrate World Book Day in school ( 9th March).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anthony McGowan – A visit from a real author!


On Friday 13th November, children’s author Anthony McGowan visited years 3, 4, 5 and 6. In the run up to Anthony’s visit all the children had been reading his books, so there was great excitement when he arrived. Every class had come up with thoughtful questions to ask him, about how he writes a book, where he gets his ideas from and how he creates characters. In Years 3 and 4, the classes were treated to a detailed description of the initiation ceremony into the Bare Bum Gang, while in Years 5 and 6 they found out all about his ‘Adventure’ series of books, as well as the murky world of Brock and Pike. At the end of the day, Anthony said that he’ ‘never been to a school who were so enthusiastic about all of his books and reading in general.’ Great stuff!

An exciting visit from David Walliams and Nicky Morgan, Secretary State for Education!

Today we were visited by Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education and David Walliams. They came to Charles Dickens Primary to promote the importance of reading; learning to read using phonics and also developing children’s love of reading through introducing them to great books, going to the library, starting up book clubs and high quality phonics.

The visited the children in the reception classes and watched phonics being taught before getting the chance to say hello to all the children and share some books. The children loved reading David’s book about the Annoying Elephant.

The Secretary of State and David Walliams read together from one of our favourite books, the BFG! Ms Morgan played the character of Sophie and David Walliams was the Big Friendly Giant – we were very impressed as they did ‘voices’! We learnt about their favourite books (Roald Dahl and JK Rowling were loved by David) and they asked about the children’s favourite books too! David Walliams then brought his book Gangsta Granny alive with a super reading full of funny voices, including a very strange Granny. Everyone laughed a lot! Ms Morgan answered questions about ‘being in charge of all the schools’ and how many schools she had visited! Well done Year 3 and 4 for thinking of such sensible questions.

Lucky Year 3 and 4 children who listened to the reading have each been given a copy of David’s new book ‘Grandpa’s Great Escape’ and we have a few spare ones for the other classes. David Walliam’s publisher also gave us a big box of books for the new library. Thank you Harper Collins!

At the end, some of the children who asked questions got to speak to the camera teams and do some filming of their own. Channel 5 News crew let the children hold mics, direct and film each other! Channel 5 were definitely impressed with them all!

What a busy morning…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Story Telling

Early years have been treated to some fabulous stories from around the world told by the storyteller Helen Macdonald. Little Dorrit found out about the origin of stories from a  lovely Ghanaian tale about  Anansi spreading the stories around the world. In Gargery the children heard a caribbean tale about Anansi having a party which they all joined in with singing and dancing. Trotwood were also transported to the rainforests in Brazil where they learned some capoeira moves and songs.

image image (3) image (2) image (1)


Charles Dickens Book Club – Tom’s Midnight Garden

tom's mignight garden

Last week, the Charles Dickens Book Club held its first meeting to discuss “Tom’s Midnight Garden” by Philippa Pearce. We began by discussing our overall impressions of the book and then thought about the author’s intentions when writing the book and whether or not she had been successful. Our discussion was mature and thoughtful – read on to hear about some the children’s key observations.

Although lots of the group had found the book quite difficult at first and thought it was less thrilling than some of their favourite modern novels, they were pleased that they had stuck with it – as the ending was agreed to be fantastic! We decided that sometimes it’s worth sticking with more “difficult” books as they can end up leaving a longer lasting impression than “easy” reads.

Some of the group were put off by Philippa’s use of description but others felt that they really came to care about the characters of Tom and Hattie. We discussed how Philippa spends a long time on the build up to the high point of the story, with the resolution which concluded quite quickly with the clever twist – perhaps this is something that Year Six could try to copy in their writing!

We also agreed that the novel was a good way to learn about the past – we were able to draw comparisons between the Victorian era, the 1950s and the present day. We also realised that it was possible to compare Tom’s Midnight Garden with Street Child which we read last term – they showed the two extremities of the Victorian period!

The Charles Dickens Book Club will return next half term when we will be comparing Betsey Byars’ “The Eighteenth Emergency” and “The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler” by Gene Kemp.

The Mad Hatter’s Reading Day!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had a wonderful day on Friday 26th September when we celebrated our love of books with a Mad Hatter’s Reading Party.  Well done to all the children who came in a brilliant selection of costumes including characters from Alice in Wonderland.  We started the day with a book quiz and one of our favourite songs all about reading!  After lunch we then had our Mad Hatter’s reading parties!  The children all brought their favourite book to the tea party and enjoyed drinks and biscuits while they shared their books with their friends.  Each class also received a special gift of a selection of brand new exciting books.  These are our ‘Books of the Moment’ and the children have been very excited to get their hands on them!  If you have any questions about your child’s reading please see your child’s class teacher who can give you advice.

Reading for Pleasure at Charles Dickens Primary School

Our friends at Nosy Crow book publishers recently asked Miss Chapleo to write a blog post for them to tell their readers all about what we have been doing to encourage reading for pleasure at our school.

Visit the Nosy Crow blog to read the full post about our Book of the Month initiative and how we have been rejuvenating our reading corners!


World Book Day

Here at Charles Dickens Primary School we love books and World Book Day
(Thursday 6th March) was the perfect day to celebrate our love of reading.  We
all had a wonderful day starting with an assembly all about books which included
a visit from Mark, who is a librarian at John Harvard library.  In the
afternoon, the whole school enjoyed sharing their favourite books with a buddy
in a different class. We think this quote by a child in Year 6 captures the enjoyment well – “It was a brilliant afternoon.  It was
interesting to see the books that the younger children and my little buddy liked and to share
my favourites too!”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.