5 Activities for World Book Day

Reading time: 3

Christina Brown

Christina is an Art and Design Teacher in a London secondary school. In her third year of teaching, she has also just completed an MA in Art and Design in Education at The Institute of Education (University College London). Christina is also a practicing artist...
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What can you do for World Book Day?

World Book Day is fast approaching! It is, as always, a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the written word and instil a love of reading in our students. However, engaging those reluctant readers can be tricky…

5 Creative World Book Day Activities

This year, go one step further and forget that fancy dress with these five creative ideas to really inspire your students. Get planning now!

1. Get Competitive

Children are naturally very competitive so making anything a competition is a sure-fire way to engage even those reluctant readers. Have students read a story, this could be a short story that takes them ten minutes, a book you’ve read in class or you could set them a book to read at home. Then host a quiz. This could be done individually or in teams . If you don’t have time to set reading first, it would also work as a general book knowledge quiz. Make sure you have some good prizes to really get the teams fired up!

Alternatively you could set a reading challenge. This could be a list of books, different formats (read a book, a newspaper article, a poem etc) or tasks inspired by reading (read aloud to someone, watch a film based on a book, ask your grandparents for a book recommendation). If you issue the challenge cards on World Book Day, its great for continuing to encourage reading after the day has past.

2. Blackout

Rather than staring at blank page waiting for inspiration, create original poetry by taking away words. Blackout poetry is created using old book pages. Pick out the words you want to keep (using alliteration is a good way to introduce this idea to younger students i.e pick out all the words that start with the letter ‘P’), then blackout all the others using marker pens. 

Simple forms of blackout poetry literally just colour black over the unwanted words, but you can take it to the next level by using illustrations that link to the original text. There are thousands of examples on Google and Pinterest to inspire you and your students. The finished results of your blackout poetry lesson can also make an excellent artistic display for the library or book corner.

3. Cover Up

Get students to create their own covers for books, they will need to add a cover illustration, a blurb and could even put on a personal recommendation. This will get them thinking, not only about how best to represent the book, but also why they think someone else should read it.  If you make them the right size these covers could be folded over the original books in your school library – other students will love discovering books with these handmade covers.

4. Swap Shop

Get students to bring in a book that they loved but no longer want, and they can exchange it for another book. Alternatively set this up for the teachers – it’s great for sparking literary debate in the staff room. If you work in a Secondary school the book exchange could even work with both staff and students. Swaps work best if all the books are dropped off in the morning and sorted out before the swapper comes back to the class later on. You could even ask participants to write a note to go in the book explaining why they loved it, or by reading extracts.

5. Go Green

If you have access to a couple of iPads then you can do great things in the classroom using the Green Screen by Do Ink app. It’s really simple to use so is suitable for both primary and secondary students. It allows you to super-impose videos and photographs on to different backgrounds. Using it, students are able create videos where they are transported back in time or even standing on the moon!

For a World Book Day project students will love, have them draw or paint a setting from their favourite book or a book you are reading in class, for example the Hogwarts dining hall. Then film them reading or performing a scene from that book. This can then be superimposed over their background artwork, transporting them into the world of the book –  students will think it is just magic!

Given the evidence of a link between reading for pleasure, attainment in school and overall confidence, it is imperative that we as teachers  embrace the chance to celebrate the written word with our students. Hopefully these ideas that will inspire your students for this World Book Day and beyond.

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