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Students transported to fictional worlds
to encourage reading for pleasure

PUBLISHED: 12:27 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:05 09 October 2018

Bethan Lancaster loves nothing more than getting lost in a story in one of the book corners at Rackheath primary.  Picture: Neil Didsbury

Bethan Lancaster loves nothing more than getting lost in a story in one of the book corners at Rackheath primary. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

A primary school is using the power of DIY to transport its students to magical scenes from their favourite stories.

Rackheath Primary school even has a furry friend, who visits once a week, to help children relax while reading. Picture: Neil DidsburyRackheath Primary school even has a furry friend, who visits once a week, to help children relax while reading. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Described by children’s author Amanda Hartley as “the most magical reading spaces” she had ever seen, Rackheath Primary School’s reading corners are helping students engage with books.

When headteacher Chris Ashman took over the school six years ago, creating relaxing spaces for the children to enjoy their favourite books was a priority. He said: “We had a big push on reading and wanted to show it was a massively important part of the school.

“It is fundamental children actually enjoy the reading if you want to create a culture where books are valued.

“We redid the school library and launched a competition to create the most exciting reading corners. The parents and students came into school to vote on their favourite. There are some amazing reading corners in the school.”

Charlie Crisp from Rackheath primary school says he really enjoys reading newspapers too. Quite right Charlie.

Picture: Neil DidsburyCharlie Crisp from Rackheath primary school says he really enjoys reading newspapers too. Quite right Charlie. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The creations included a circus tent with bean bags and brightly coloured fabric walls and the winning entry, a Narnia themed wardrobe full of fur coats for students to climb through into a wintery den.

Class two teacher, Helen Grogutt, said their larger than life beanstalk corner was inspired by a school reading project.

She said: “We were doing a project on traditional tales and were looking at the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. We had this mad idea of making a beanstalk that went up into the ceiling. My partner helped create the framework from chicken wire and then stood on the top of a ladder and tied it into some pipe work in the ceiling. The children created the leaves from recycled carrier bags and scraps of fabric.”

Mr Ashman said primary schools face a difficult balance act between passing reading SATs exams and instilling a love of reading in their students.

Charlie Crisp from Rackheath primary school ponders over his next selection in the library. Picture: Neil DidsburyCharlie Crisp from Rackheath primary school ponders over his next selection in the library. Picture: Neil Didsbury

He added: “We spend a lot of time making sure children like to read for pleasure without constantly having to be analysing and answering questions about texts. Those skills are important but won’t necessarily make them enjoy reading and actually that is what is really important.”

Is your school working on a special reading project? Get in touch on bethany.wales@archant.co.uk

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