STUDENTS at Isambard Community School are finding out the importance of reading this week to celebrate World Book Day.

On Monday, author Jeff Norton, writer of the MetaWars series, paid a visit to the school and was so popular pupils have been queuing to get their hands on his books.

Stella Rogers, learning resource centre manager, said: “Jeff is a really good teen author and his MetaWars series is basically a dystopian series and looks at the way everybody uses technology. “He talked about how you always see people walking down the street using their mobile phone and paying no attention to the road or the traffic. The books are very forward thinking.

“Part of his reasons for becoming an author were that he was a very reluctant reader as a young boy. He came into it late in life and he’s now an avid reader, but he wants to write books that he would have read when he was growing up.”

Jeff gave his talk to Year 7 and 8 students and many of the youngsters were so enthralled that they queued up to purchase his books after.

“He was a very interesting man to listen to,” said Stella.

“The children really enjoyed it, and the staff did too. It’s always encouraging when staff come away saying how much they enjoyed it.”

The visit came about through the school’s link with Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester and is the first in a series of planned events to mark World Book Day, including a dressing up day, sponsored readathon, book swap and more.

“Reading is crucial to the students’ wider education and their understanding of the world,” said Stella.

“The students that are well read do so much better at exams and their job prospects are much better.

“It’s more of a battle now, people are used to text speak, but it is all about vocabulary and extending their knowledge. We want to make it fun too and we want the students to know that reading is for pleasure. I know they have to read a lot for exams but reading is for pleasure. My school librarian was such an influence on me and I fell in love with books as a child. “If I can impress that on just one child, I will feel like I have achieved something.”