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Year of Reading: Stroud Book Festival

It has been another exciting start to the term for our ‘Year of Reading’ schools! On Thursday 9 and Friday 10 November 2023, 200 pupils from schools within our project travelled to Stroud’s Subscription Rooms to take part in this year’s Stroud Book Festival!


Accompanied by teachers, teaching assistants and parents, the coaches took pupils into the heart of Stroud to learn more about the work of well-loved children’s authors: Natasha Farrant, Ken Wilson-Max and Smriti Halls.


The authors were fantastic, engaging the children in their fantasy worlds and taking them on adventures through literature! Smriti Halls had the pupils bouncing on their seats, singing along to the words from her book ‘Stop! That’s Not My Story!’. In addition, Ken Wilson-Max encouraged the children to create new mammals – we created a ‘RoarCroc’ which had the body of a crocodile and the head of a lion! Natasha Farrant led a workshop for the older children on her new book ‘The Rescue of Ravenwood’. We were fortunate enough to see her at one of our virtual events for the Cheltenham Literature Festival last term too!


"I enjoyed making the front covers of our own books, following her fairy tale ideas.”  Frankie, Year 2 pupil at Down Ampney C of E Primary School.


"I liked Astro Girl because you were able to know when people went on the moon."  Henry, Year 2 pupil at Down Ampney C of E Primary School.


“I can hope everyone reads The Rescue of Ravenwood, it’s a really good story about fighting to save our planet. I hope we can get more copies for our library." Oscar, Year 4 pupil at Kemble Primary School 


“We were so lucky to have the opportunity to  listen to such a popular author. The children were captured by Natasha Farrant’s descriptions of the places and people that inspired her writing. I am excited to see how the pupils use the idea of ‘you mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you’ to inspire their own writing!” Emma Morrogh-Ryan, Headteacher, Kemble Primary School 


These enrichment opportunities are vital to developing children’s love of Reading which, in turn, will support all children to be able to read in line with their chronological age. To have proficiency in Reading is an essential tool for not only the exploration of knowledge and skills within their curriculums but also for the development of relationships. Furthermore, it enables children to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.


The children’s experience of attending the Stroud Book Festival would not have been possible without the generosity of The Winstone Charitable Trust. The funding they provided has enabled children to be transported to the festival and take part in the inspiring author workshops. We are very grateful for their support and for providing the children with these memorable experiences.


"Thank you so much for organising the literature festival days, they were absolutely fantastic and it was so nice to go with other schools!” Fiona Pattemore, Teacher at Powells C of E Primary School.


We are also grateful to the local schools and their teachers who are taking part in our ‘Year of Reading’ project. Working collaboratively, we are raising the profile of Reading in our schools by sharing our great practice with each other.


Rachael Scott, School Improvement Lead, Corinium Education Trust.