For me, World Book Day this year is something that is even more essential that we celebrate with children. In a year where books have been a chance of escapism, promoting and providing understanding of coping strategies and emotions and a way of acquiring knowledge of the current world, it is more important than ever that we show children how fantastic books can be.
This year, World Book Day is going to look a little different to how it previously might have in UK schools. Even if you decide to celebrate it the week school’s return, rather than on the traditional date of Thursday 4th March, there are still social distancing rules to adhere to, which will mean adapting a lot of the usual activities. However, there are still so many things that can still be done to celebrate! So I am going to offer some ideas here, that might be useful! There is nothing ground-breaking, but just some simple hints and tips to make planning that little bit easier.
There’s always a big debate around fancy dress for World Book Day. There are many reasons for and against, but I am always a supporter of dressing up as book characters (or, to be honest, any fancy dress!) on this date. However, I usually change the theme just from ‘favourite book character’ to something else. Last year, the children had to dress as an adjective. I was an awkward turtle! By changing the theme like this, it avoids:
- Children dressing up in whichever commercialised authors outfits supermarkets have chosen to produce this year.
- Dressing as a superhero, or character from a TV show.
- Dressing in casual clothes and holding up ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’.
For me, the idea of dressing up on book day should be entirely focused around books, vocabulary and how amazing storytelling can be, and I entirely understand why – for the above reasons – it can be a frustrating activity! Just pick a theme that suits your children and your school.
Rather than having prescribed tasks for children to complete, why not give them something more open ended that allows them to be creative at home or school? This Reading Menu gives a range of activities which can be completed including baking, art, ICT and, of course, books!
One thing that children should definitely be seeing on World Book Day is the passion their teachers have for reading, or the books they enjoy reading. One simple way of doing this is having a ‘Teacher Shelfie’ from each member of staff (or School Staff Shelfie!) which children have to match to the owner.
Alongside this, staff could bring in their favourite book (or show it on Zoom!) as a clue – can you spot the book on the shelf? It will get children and adults discussing books and reading in an exciting but natural way.
This IS an activity in it’s own right. Allow lots of opportunity to share books. To discuss books. To recommend books. This could be in virtual calls between year groups. Maybe they could log in to a different teacher than usual to listen to story time! Talking about books and creating a ‘buzz’ about them in the classroom is the best part of World Book Day! Seeing the joy books can bring is, for me, one of the best parts of the job.
Once children begin to feel the ‘buzz’ themselves, it can start becoming daily practice in classrooms. World Book Day facilitates book talk, but it is something that every classroom should have every day!
I hope World Book Day manages to be just as magical and enjoyable, even with the current circumstances still in place. I can’t wait to see everyone sharing their stories online!