Littler launches library
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The writer, who grew up in and around St Albans and Hemel Hempstead, returned to his roots to celebrate the vibrant installation in the school’s library, which pupils from nursery to Year 6 are able to visit every week as part of their learning.
Littler, whose Frostheart trilogy hit the No 1 Best Seller list in 2019, captivated pupils with a workshop explaining what it is like to be an author and illustrator. He treated children to a sneaky peek at ideas and sketches from the note books he used when planning his latest story, Arkspire. The children also had a go at creating a character from the fantasy adventure novel with Jamie, in a draw-along session.
“I definitely want to become an author now,” said one Year Four pupil. “It was great to see how writers’ first ideas sometimes aren’t the best, just like mine. It was fun seeing how Jamie’s ideas got better and developed. I think it will help me when I am trying to write a story.”
Unveiling the mural, which features covers from books that the children from 3-11 year-olds study in reading and writing lessons, the award-winning author praised the library and the wide range of fiction and non-fiction available. “Making reading accessible to all is so important. It’s great to see a school with a library packed full of so many books, representing all backgrounds and cultures.”
The mural is one of the latest innovations the school is adopting to encourage a life-long love of reading in pupils. Other initiatives include an exciting phonics scheme which uses monsters to teach sounds, parents visiting the library with their child’s class and even Pixie – a ‘reading dog’ provided by Canine Concern – who the children read their stories to when she visits each week. Pixie was present at the unveiling too.
The school’s efforts with reading are paying off, with children recording above national average results in the Phonics Screening Test in Year One and the Year Six SATs Reading paper. The reading paper hit the headlines earlier this year after widespread criticism that it was too hard, however the 2-form entry in Redbourn bucked the trend, with 82% of pupils achieving the expected standard or higher.
“We want every child to love books, for the mystery, the information, the escape and the adventure,” said Assistant Head, Tracey Couch. “The chance to hear from a real-life author, and someone who grew up locally, is inspirational to our children. Events like this, and the fact we are using the wide range of genres and topics in the books on the mural in our teaching every day, are helping us to achieve that goal.”