Festival of Words – A Buzz About Books

10 March 2023

In celebration of World Book Day, we launched a Festival of Words event that ran from Thursday 2 March to Friday 10 March. The event was packed with a series of fun and engaging literature-related initiatives to create a ‘buzz about books’ across the school, including competitions, arts and crafts, storytelling and reading, performing arts, multi-media activities and creative writing.

Our Festival of Words event kicked off on World Book Day with activities planned to suit different Year Groups. Below showcases some of the highlights.

📖 Drop Everything and Read

An alarm sounded at various times throughout the day to prompt the whole Beacon Community, teachers and pupils, to stop what they were doing and read their book (or listen to a storytelling for our younger boys). The times were unknown and not only during lesson-times. Our Reception boys had to stop swimming in the pool and listen to a teacher reading a story pool-side, some of our boys were enjoying lunch and had to stop and read in the Dining Hall. Books had to be kept at the ready at all times!

📹 Pop-up Book Booth

Our Years 7 and 8 boys were tasked with devising an entertaining script for video ‘shorts’ that were submitted in advance to be filmed in The Beacon ‘Book Booth’ on World Book Day. The aim was to share creativity and passion about literature, selecting one theme (from a selection of over 20 themes) that could be used as a focal point to depict a book or range of books in a 20-30 second video.

📜Step Inside Your Story

In English lessons, our boys in Years 3 to 6 have been learning about inspiring authors and illustrators, some of whom encourage children to make concertina books about themselves to celebrate inclusivity. Our boys were then challenged to create their own personalised concertina book, which were put on a display along the Year 5 corridor. The blank concertina books were supplied and filled with personal content about each boy, including captions, drawings, photos and/or illustrations – each boy created the book as they wished.

Parent Coffee Morning

We were pleased to invite parents to a Coffee Morning at the school to share their experiences of reading with their children at home. The group was small but lively and several ideas for the future came out of it. Watch this space for more reading initiatives…

🎨 Word and Book-Related Arts and Crafts

On World Book Day, boys across the school got creative with literature. Our boys in Early Years and Pre-Prep created headbands and bookmarks colouring imagery related to the books they have been enjoyed during storytelling sessions. In Year 1, our boys have been reading ‘Stick Man’ and ‘Superworm’ by Julia Donaldson, so they created their own stick men out of twigs, created worm art and made worms with play doh. Year 2 planted seeds after reading ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, and made web parachutes after looking at ‘Charlotte’s Web’.

📑 Battle of the Books Competition

Over 10 weeks, Year 3 classes were put into 10 teams to frantically work their way through a reading list of 10 books. On World Book Day, an exciting round of heats was held to whittle down teams for the final. The top scoring teams went head to head for the 2023 Battle of the Books crown.

Congratulations to the winning team: Alex V, Monty B, Theo M-M, Evan K, Henry J and Christopher S. Well done boys for some stunning answers!

🕺 Bringing Books to Life Workshops

Our Pre-Prep boys were thrilled to have a workshop with a West End Theatre Company. Through movement, they performed an adaptation of popular Children’s books. Our Nursery and Reception boys performed ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ and Year 1 and 2 boys focussed on ‘The Enormous Crocodile.’

🔖 Book Buzz Book Club

A group of boys and teachers have collaborated to enjoy meeting for a weekly book club to discuss Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’. Each week they apply post-it notes to the ‘Who Dunnit?’ board to guess the culprit. The meetings have been buzzing and are set to continue with other books!

🎭 Punch Drunk Theatre Company ‘Abe and Alba’

Our Year 3 boys have been immersed in a mysterious literature-based activity over 3 weeks. It transpired that a book purchased in a local charity shop is magic and the characters escaped to go on an adventure around the school. The boys need to entice the characters back into their book. This activity is still ongoing. More shall be revealed…

🎨 ‘Under the Sea’ Art Exhibition

We were delighted to host an Art Exhibition to showcase all the superb artwork created by our Beacon boys throughout the school. To read the full news story and view a gallery of images, click here. As the exhibition was held during our Festival of Words event, we set up a word board, whereby our Beacon Community were encouraged to write words to describe how the exhibition made them feel. The board was packed with positive descriptive words such as amazing, spectacular, wow, vibrant, awesome, outstanding, and astonishing.

📚 Chiltern Bookshop Bookfair

We were pleased to welcome the Chiltern Bookshop to The Beacon to host a bookfair over two afternoons. Parents were invited for a browse and could order books should they desire. There was a range of genres and authors applicable to all ages. Watch out for our next bookfair to be planned in November.

✍️ Handwriting Competition

Boys in Years 2-8 were set the challenge of writing out a poem, which differed according to the Year Group. A top-quality personalised pen and a certificate was  awarded to first and second place in each age group. Congratulations to Aadvik R (Winner – Year 2), Augustus W (Runner Up – Year 2), Dexter R (Winner – Year 3), Christopher S (Runner Up – Year 3), Sarvan K (Winner – Year 4), Niam P (Runner Up – Year 4), Thomas S (Winner – Year 5), Avi M (Runner Up – Year 5), Sachin V (Winner – Year 6), Nico S (Runner Up – Year 6), Noah B (Winner – Upper School), Arthur W (Runner Up – Upper School).

📕 Library Book Crafts Installation

This week, our library gained some very special new books for its collection. Over the past few months, Ms Bell, our Cover Supervisor, has devoted between 80-100 hours to the creation of decorative ‘book words’ made from books donated by our boys and staff. Using a painstaking cutting-and-folding technique, she has transformed books by David Walliams, Cressida Cowell and Derek Landy into works of art. Thank you Ms Bell and your fellow colleagues, Mrs Vale and Mrs Hardie who helped colour the letters. The library is now a true place of wonder and inspiration!

‘On average, each book takes about 4 hours, but the ‘DREAM’ book was the hardest’, she said, ‘because it had 32 cuts on some pages!’ Her favourite of the collection is ‘Once upon a time’ because ‘it is so pretty and delicate’.

🚛 Charity Book Collection

To ‘give the gift of reading’, we asked our Beacon Community to donate unused text and reading books for the Ihezie Foundation, a charity that collects and donates books to UK primary schools, and also to schools across Africa. The books were collected by a charity van this week, with four Year 5 boys – Henry D, Sam H, Monty M and Tom T – helping to hand over the books to the Foundation. In total, we collected over 100 boxes of books, which will be put to good use. Thank you to everyone for your support!

👨‍🍳 Themed Lunch

Our Catering Team even got into the spirit of things with their Charlie and the Chocolate Factory area. Boys were thrilled to see a bubble machine on entering the Dining Hall, where they could serve themself a super lifting fizzy drink (pink lemonade). There were Chef’s in top hats serving ‘Golden Ticket’ cakes, as well as other props.

A super busy, engaging and fun week.

🚪 Book Door Signs – Teachers Are Reading…

Our teachers completed and printed off their own door sign to stick to their classroom door that highlighted the book they are currently reading to spur discussion and sharing of literature in the staff room as well as the classroom.

View our gallery of images below: