School fosters love of reading with pyjamas and a good book

This Is Wiltshire: Karen Baker with pupils at Croft School dressed in pyjamas in a bid to encourage a love of reading Karen Baker with pupils at Croft School dressed in pyjamas in a bid to encourage a love of reading

PUPILS at The Croft Primary School went straight to bed after school was out yesterday, although they took a book with them.

More than three-quarters of the children at the Old Town institution were invited to return to the school after the final bell rang out yesterday afternoon.

Aged between four and six years old, the Reception and Year One pupils crowded into the school hall with pyjamas and slippers, as staff promoted reading with an engaging event focused on bedtime reading.

Candida Hutchinson, headteacher at Croft, said: “We are trying a reading event each term and the best way to get them to learn is in a fun way.

“Look at this as the option rather than a Christmas disco, for example.

“We’ve had a play on Reading Festival in the past, with a group of the children out in a muddy field reading a book.

“We try and keep things engaging for them.”

The difficulty lies in gauging how children so young respond to these events long-term. However, Candida said she and her colleagues have already seen signs of improvement. She said: “We have children who have brought their own favourite stories in to these events.

“That shows they are engaging with the characters and the stories, building a relationship with them.

“We also take photos of them reading at evenings like this one. We share them with the children and tell them how great they look with a book.”

Amy Owen, a teacher and literacy co-ordinator at the school, said: “This evening adds a bit of excitement for them.

“This event also shows the parents that this is a good time to read to their children.

“When you see how many kids are here you can just see how much support the parents show us in what we try to do.”

Karen Poole, a parent of two at the school and head of the parent governors, said: “First off, it’s brilliant because the two year groups are integrated together, which I love, not only because I have one son in each year, but because such a small school needs to mix in together as much as possible.

“This school has quite a family community feel, so I love it. The boys have been excited all week about this.

“They are actually in there doing sit-down reading, and it’s just a lovely way of getting them together.”

The event doubled as an opening evening for prospective pupils’ parents to assess the school before choosing one.

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