Festival of Words – A Buzz about Books 2024

11 March 2024

In celebration of World Book Day, we launched our Festival of Words for the second year running! The 7-day event ran from Thursday 29 February to Friday 8 March and 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.

Below showcases some of the highlights:

Drop Everything and Read

A special 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 Little Beacons had to stop swimming in the pool and listen to a teacher reading a story poolside, some of our Beacon boys were in the Quad during breaktime and had to stop play for a moment of reading. Books had to be kept at the ready at all times!

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 2024 Battle of the Books crown.

Congratulations to the winning team:

Arjun P (3G)

Benjamin. E (3G)

Farid. A (3B)

Jack. W (3B)

Joshua. S (3Y)

Rory. J (3R)

Austin. B (3R)

Well done, boys!

Handwriting Competition

Boys in Years 2-8 were set the challenge of writing out a poem in the neatest of handwriting. Each poem 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:

Year 2

Winner: Max M

Runner up: Joe K

Highly commended: Dhani M


Year 3

Winner: Peter C

Runner up: Jack G

Highly commended: Neo D/Teddy N


Year 4

Winner: Jimmy C

Runner up: Harry H

Highly commended:  Christopher S


Year 5

Winner: Niam P

Runner up: Jeevan L

Highly commended: Aarav R


Year 6

Winner: Avi M

Runner up: Rocco G

Highly commended: Henry B


Year 7

Winner: Berik I

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 on Thursday. In total, we donated 400kg of books, which will be put to good use. Thank you to everyone for your support!

Beaconverse Podcast

Leading up to World Book Day, Year 8 worked in teams to prepare a podcast for Beaconverse. The boys were able to discuss a book of their choice and one member of the team took on the role of being the host. All the boys spoke clearly and confidently resulting in an exciting podcast that is soon to be published!

Blackout Poetry

Years 3-6 took part in a blackout poetry activity. The boys were tasked with crafting striking poems from redacted text by blacking out portions of text to keep the words revealed that read in order down a page to create a poem.

Story Chains

The whole school took part in collaborative story chain where each class added their own imaginative twists to an evolving narrative. With each contribution, a tapestry of interconnected tales emerged.

The Masked Reader

On World Book Day, all boys across the school were challenged to guess the teacher in this year’s Masked Reader video. Various staff members from different departments read a paragraph from their chosen book with amusing digital masks applied to cover their face. The boys found it hilarious and did a good job in recognising teachers’ voices.

Author Visits – Laura Mucha and Jim Smith

Author and poet, Laura Mucha, kicked off our 2024 Festival of Words with an explosion of energy.  Her presentation to the whole school covered her own personal journey from city lawyer to poet, the ins and outs of the painstaking publishing process, the joys of partnering with organisations such as The British Museum and the Natural History Museum, and the importance of saving all our scraps of creative work for a future when they may seem more relevant ( – one of her most well-known poems languished in a drawer for eight years before she re-discovered it and re-mastered it!).

On World Book Day, Jim Smith presented to Years 3 to 8 all about his award-winning Barry Loser series. Jim spoke through his books and ran a drawing tutorial of the main character of his book. He explained to the boys about how important it is to create a cartoon that has a stand-out feature, as this is how his readers remember the character. In his case his character has a very large nose!

Gothic Tales

Year 7 had a visit from the Redheart Theatre Company to perform Gothic Tales. Seated in the Old Barn, they had the pleasure of watching an actor perform dramatizations of two short stories – very enthusiastically! They were based on ‘The Red Room’ by H G Wells and ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ by Edgar Allen Poe. It was extremely well-performed. The actor was very talented as he acted out many characters, all by himself and managed the sound and stage lighting as well.

Birthday Book Launch

Mr Baker launched a new initiative which is a lovely opportunity for families to donate a new book to The Beacon around the time of their son’s birthday. It is a great way for the boys to introduce their friends to a book they have enjoyed and for us to enrich the content of the Pre-Prep and Main Libraries.

Instagram Reel

In today’s world, our use of screens for entertainment and relaxation can be a source of worry for parents concerned that they are drawing children away from more traditional activities such as reading books. The Turn on the Subtitles campaign encourages parents to use subtitles whenever their children are using screens. It’s a great way to get your children reading more without it turning into an obligation or a chore and there is significant body of scientific research to suggest that it has a huge impact on children’s literacy. Please do have a look at the following link and think about using your subtitles more.

Turn on The Subtitles Campaign

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