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Year of Reading Launch

On Thursday 19 May 2023, over 80 pupils from 10 local primary schools and Cirencester Deer Park School were spotted in Cirencester’s town centre reading at midday with their teachers.


This 15 minute ‘flash read’ promoted our exciting collaborative project led by a group of local teachers and contributed to our launch of our ambitious ‘Year of Reading’ which aims to ensure all pupils can read at least in line with their chronological reading age and promote reading for pleasure.


The event which took place in the market place outside St John’s Church and in Brewery Court had the blessing of the Town and District Councils, the Parish Church and the police.


‘When we described what we would like to do, everyone was tremendously supportive and wished us well. They understood and appreciated the importance of learning to read and reading for pleasure.’ Chiquita Henson, Trust Lead (CEO), The Corinium Education Trust


On the twelfth chime of midday the children and their teachers quickly got their books out and all settled to read in silence. The presence of so many children publicly reading definitely turned heads. One passer by observed how lovely it was to see so many children reading! The weather was especially kind to us. When the fifteen minutes was up, the pupils and their teachers were reluctant to put their books away and return to their schools.


This local schools’ ‘Year of Reading’ started at 10:00 at The Barn Theatre who kindly hosted the launch. It was attended by the schools’ Reading Ambassadors and their teachers.


After an initial welcome and introduction, the pupils were both entertained and inspired by local children’s author, Christopher Edge: ‘It was great to be involved in this vital ‘Year of Reading’ initiative and I hope all the children who came along to the launch event enjoyed escaping into their books at the flash read!'


At the launch, Christopher Edge spoke enthusiastically about the origins of his stories in his humorous and animated presentation and definitely whetted the pupils’ appetites for reading and learning more about the world around us. This was evident in the way his novel, ‘Escape Room’, quickly sold out!


‘I loved cracking the code in Christopher Edge’s workshop on his book ‘Escape Room'.'  Wilf (Year 3), Rodmarton Primary School.


‘It was amazing to have so many schools come together for the love of reading, listening to stories being told by a real author.’ Louisa Jones, Class Teacher, Rodmarton Primary School.


‘From books that help children and teenagers understand the world around them to page-turning novels that let them escape from the world for a while, reading unlocks so many doors and I'm really proud to be involved in this launch.’ Christopher Edge


‘We are very grateful to the Stroud Book Festival who found Christopher Edge for us and supported the event. We were impressed by the time and care Christopher took in talking to each child as he signed each of their copies of ‘Escape Room’. The children enjoyed listening to him and teachers were impressed by his original ideas.’ Chiquita Henson, Trust Lead (CEO), The Corinium Education Trust.


‘Stroud Book Festival is a celebration of stories, ideas and community for readers of all ages, and we are delighted to support the work of the ‘Year of Reading’ project. We believe projects like the ‘Year of Reading’ are an important part of the work parents and educators are doing to create lifelong readers and we look forward to helping them throughout the project.’ Shannon, Stroud Book Festival


Also attending the event were two representatives from Forest Green Rovers. They actively support reading initiatives in schools and will be involved in supporting this collaborative ‘Year of Reading’ project locally.


‘Our aim is to involve local reading initiatives from across the local area, to raising reading standards. Forest Green Rovers run a Premier League Primary Stars education programme, delivered by FGR Community Coaches. This is a valuable resource as it encourages children who enjoy sport to also pick up a book and start reading!’ Rachael Scott, School Improvement Lead, Corinium Education Trust.


‘FGR community are very excited to be involved in the ‘Year of Reading’ taking place in schools across Cirencester. It was great to be invited to the launch to see so many schools and children interested in reading and the wonders that it can unlock. Our coaches also appreciated the opportunity to hear from the amazing author Christopher Edge. His passion and enthusiasm were extremely infectious and spread across the whole room.’ Chris Kelly, Programme Manager


At the event, Rachael Scott, The Corinium Education Trust’s School Improvement Lead, who has been coordinating the project so far, awarded two pupils with prizes for their creative logo and poster designs. These will be used throughout the ‘Year of Reading’.


‘When it came to choosing the winning designs, it was evident how much reading means to our children. The poster entries were full of meaningful ideas, but what stood out most was the ‘togetherness of reading’ and that is one of the main aims of our project. Thank you to The Yellow Lighted Bookshop, Tetbury and Octavia’s Bookshop, Cirencester for donating vouchers for the winning entries.’ Rachael Scott, School Improvement Lead, Corinium Education Trust.