Primary Reading Areas- a worthy winner!

Just Imagine...were this year's proud sponsor of the University of Greenwich's Primary Reading Area Competition. The winner, Walliams class (year 5) and their teacher, Jemma Deller, of Gallions Mount Primary School, Plumstead, created an inspirational Enchanted Forest. We were so happy to hear that they loved their prize of £200 worth of non fiction and fiction titles. We asked Jemma how her class created such a beautiful space.

At the beginning of this academic year I chose to discuss with my class what improvements we should make to our reading area. The class decided that it should be more cosy and have more of a theme. My main focus was to inspire and encourage lower achieving readers within the class to enjoy books and read more. So after discussions and debates within the class, the class voted to go with an enchanted forest theme. After we had decided the theme, we then brainstormed ideas of what our book corner should or could include.

The children were so excited to be included in the design and creation of the book corner. Parents donated sari fabric and one parent who is a painter and decorator made a toadstool table and two stools to fit in with our theme. Another family donated cushions from a sofa they were disposing of. The children then met with the school caretaker to revamp some of the furniture to tie in with our theme and decided as a group to paint a green colour to fit in with the forest theme.

The children have taken a huge interest in revamping the book corner and have now taken on roles and responsibilities to keep the book corner tidy and welcoming to others. They regularly take it upon themselves to stay in during play times to tidy and reorganise the book area. Since making improvements to our reading area, my focus group now take it upon themselves to regularly read more during daily guided reading sessions and when they have free time often take themselves to the reading area to relax and read. Two of the boys now approach teaching assistants to come and listen to them read in the area, which I feel has been a huge achievement.

The children also wanted to be involved in creating the competition entry and asked me to include some of their thoughts, feelings and opinions.

Arooj - Walliams class book corner is now enjoyable and encourages us to read more. David Walliams is our class author as I find his books really mind blowing and breathtaking to read. The theme for our book corner is an enchanted forest and that's the reason why we have included twigs to recreate a tree, plants (which we take care of and regularly water) and leaves in the material above to create a woodland feel. We use it for guided reading, extra reading time, relaxing as well as group literacy work. I personally think that it's a great place and the best book area. It has loads of quotes hanging around to inspire more children to read. I am very grateful for being able to make this book area a great success.

Wajeeha - What I like about Walliams class book corner is that when you go into it you feel really comfortable. In our book corner we sit down and enjoy reading books, also if any book gets torn or ruined we fix them. Our class author is David Walliams. It is full of enjoyable books and once you start reading them they make you want to read another. Walliams class book corner has amazing, inspiring quotes. Our book area is a lovely forest with flowers, trees and leaves. We chose this because every forest has a story to tell. Our book corner inspires young children to read more and enjoy more books. It is the best book corner I have ever seen and the most imaginative. When I close my eyes and sit there, I can imagine a whole new forest. I am really proud of what Miss Deller and the children have done to create it. It's amazing and the cosiest.

Habeeb - In Walliams class we improved our book corner for pupils to relax and get comfortable. We have got new books and regularly write book reviews about our favourite books. We have our toad stools and make the book corner look nice and we tidy it every day. We also go there every day for guided reading, so we can enjoy it.

Preet - In our book corner we have used the theme of an enchanted forest, because of that we made toad stool seats and a table, which we use for our guided reading to make it more fun and cosy. We made our New Year's resolutions and cut them into leaf shapes, which we attached to real branches. Our teacher bought some plants, which we water daily to keep them alive. They have also written quotes, encouraging phrases, and hints for when we are reading. We have also got a bean bag pillow and made a sofa with cushions so it's cosy.

Amina - "Every forest has a story to tell."
The reason why I like our book corner is that when you walk in, it feels like you are in an enchanted forest. It makes young people want to read more. From the amazing plants to the inspiring quotes. As you walk in, lights twinkle and shimmer as if I were in a ballroom but because of the plants and leaves it's feels like a real forest under the stars.

Esosa - I went to forest school and got lots of twigs to make a tree.

I feel that involving the children to recreate an inspiring, welcoming reading area has made a huge improvement to the children within my class. It has not only encouraged them to read more but has also improved their writing because of the vocabulary that they are picking up due to the fact they are reading more.

The children who wouldn't have read aloud confidently at the beginning of the academic year are now becoming much more fluent and confident in reading aloud. Overall I feel that the reading area has had an immense impact on the children within my class not just academically (reading and writing) but as individuals they are now confident and developing their questioning, understanding, speaking and listening, problem solving, team building skills through an inspiring project. They are confidently choosing books that inspire them to read more, and discuss with others why they enjoyed the text and some children even take it upon themselves to create book reviews at home to go in our book corner to encourage and inspire others to read a particular text.

Well done Jemma Deller and Walliams class. Thank you for sharing your inspirational space with us!

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