Online Festival of Literature | King's Hall School Taunton

Online Festival of Literature

Encouraging a love of reading and storytelling

Last week, children in Year 3 become archaeologists by taking part in a ‘dig’ in our archaeological pit. They found… - 51 minutes ago

‘Just because we are in lockdown why can’t we have a festival celebrating literature?’ 

Considering this question, our English department decided to take part in the Bishop’s Stortford College Festival of Literature. Inspiring children to read for pleasure is a number one priority at King’s Hall, and so leading up to half-term, the whole school enjoyed reading an incredible range of literature and completing book-related activities, with every year group, from Pre-Prep to Year 8, given access to resources and live online author events. This digitally devised Festival brought events straight from the homes of acclaimed authors, illustrators, and poets into the pupils’ own homes. These hand-picked writers were chosen to engage and enthuse pupils whatever their age, and judging from their reaction, our pupils found both inspiration and enjoyment in the events.

Our Head of Drama, Mrs Keirle, had the pleasure of virtually attending with our Year 5 and Year 6 pupils. They listened to authors Matt Oldfield, Anna McNuff, Onjali Eauf and Tom Palmer, taking inspiration from each of them. Anna's talk was incredibly engaging and she spoke with such enthusiasm; Onjali also passionate, explained how she enjoys writing about things she is keen to support; and the children thought Tom's idea for planning stories using post-it notes he could move around depending on the direction he was going, was a great one. Following on from Matt's talk, the children continued their writing over half term, focusing on sports, and in particular, how they could incorporate the idea of shoes into their stories. Mrs Keirle has since received some brilliant ones that include riding boots, trainers, ballet shoes, and even a horseshoe, all in a variety of styles!

Mrs Gompels' Year 6 class took a great deal of inspiration from Anna McNuff's talk and created their 'Wannabe Adventurers' questionnaires. One Year 6 pupil Dalbi shared some of his answers:

Name three of your favourite adventure books: King Coo, Alex Rider, The Famous Five.

Say why you think it is important to have a thirst for adventure: You can explore being the first to discover something and it’s good for your heart.

What should you bring on your adventure? A light back pack, a small tent, a knife, loads of maps, food and water.

Why is it important to have the right equipment with you? To be prepared as you might have to fight a crocodile!

If you could go on one of the adventures described in the video which one would you choose and why? I would like to cycle through all the states of America because I like cycling and it keeps you really fit and you will meet lots of new people.

Have you been on an adventure? As a family we have walked around volcanoes in Lanzarote.

What do you think are the most important things you learn from adventuring? How far you can challenge yourself.

Many schools take children away for an adventure holiday. Why is this a good idea? To get away from our home and school and get out of your comfort zone.

For some of our younger years, Emma Yarlett was really great. She read a couple of her books and taught the children how to draw a dragon. One story ends with a dragon leaving his friend's (Alex) house to live in a more suitable place for a dragon and the children enjoyed writing letters from the dragon to Alex from his new home.

A highlight for our older pupils in Years 7 and 8 included the exciting talk by Anthony McGowan focusing on his gritty adventurous novellas about the difficult lives of two brothers. The children also enjoyed Joseph Coelho's poetry workshop on how to write a Roundel poem (this consists of nine lines each having the same number of syllables, plus a refrain after the third line and after the last line. The refrain must be identical with the beginning of the first line: it may be a half-line, and rhymes with the second line). Read Toby B's Roundel poem below:

The darkness, filled with flickering tongues of fire,
Shadows stalking, eyes ablaze with flame,
Malignant from before they know their name,
Like lights of lanterns on a cold black mire,
Hungry, starving, staring eyes so dire,
Out of the darkness they now came.
The darkness, filled with flickering tongues of fire,
Shadows stalking, eyes ablaze with flame,
Darkness, fire and living fear,
The shapes of guilt, terror and blame,
Consumed with longing for the light again,
The fires of anguish burning even higher,
The darkness, filled with flickering tongues of fire,
Shadows stalking, eyes ablaze with flame.

We all thoroughly enjoyed taking part and in igniting a love of reading and storytelling in our pupils.

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