World Book Day this Thursday, 4th March needs some creative thinking this year, as with many children across Teesside and the rest of the UK being home-schooled, the majority of pupils aren’t set to return to school until March 8.
The UNESCO initiative usually encourages children and their teachers to dress up as their favourite characters from children’s’ literature and the school day is infused with World Book Day activities to celebrate and encourage a passion for reading.
This year Tees Valley Music Service (TVMS) has created a free two and a half hour broadcast jam-packed full of short readings, sing-alongs related to the books and a whole host of creative activities to inspire children at home or in school to have fun with literature.
Children’s Books aren’t just about reading of course, so this World Book Day broadcast also features an ‘Animal Draw-along Workshop’ with renowned Darlington illustrator and author, Liz Million.
Middlesbrough Reads, a campaign working to improve literacy, has supported TVMS by providing bundles of books as prizes for an illustration competition which ran throughout February 2021 to get children excited about World Book Day. Middlesbrough Reads sees the benefit of music to young readers and says that “singing songs and rhymes can support language development in young children and help later reading skills. Music is also great for promoting movement and coordination”. Middlesbrough has the greatest literacy need in the country. Experian research and the National Literacy trust found that of 533 constituencies in England, Middlesbrough is the constituency with the greatest literacy need. The work of Middlesbrough Reads is therefore vital at this time to support with this.
The broadcast runs from 9:30am to midday on Thursday 4th March, and then repeats at 12:30pm until 3pm and is designed with children at Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in mind – though Youth Choir director and singing teacher, Nikki Lycett-Findlay, whose idea this was, says “we know older children will also enjoy getting involved, as will the grown-up children”.
Titles range from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson to Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian.