All you need is a good idea, a bit of imagination and some careful planning. A Book Day can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. It can cost as much or as little as you can afford.
Still not sure you could do it’ Here are some ideas to get you going. We’ve gathered them from experienced organisers of Book Days who know they work.
Book Day Basics
Most Book Days (or weeks) are a blend of the same activities: exhibitions, talks, demonstrations, films, games. competitions, making things, drama. dressing-up, quizzes, puppets, author visits, stories, workshops, bookselling. Displays, decorations all help to create atmosphere.
Work by the children as preparation for The Day and as follow-up increases the value and impact of the day enormously. When you discover how much a Book Day can contribute to what you are trying to achieve in the curriculum it justifies all the hard work and the disruption of the normal routine. Activities that encourage reading. writing, talking and listening, that develop a better understanding of what books have to offer, that are interesting. exciting and fun, that act as a stimulus to further reading and enquiry must be worth doing.
Time spent discussing ideas, researching possibilities, plotting and planning is never wasted. It’s not too early to start NOW for a Book Day in the next school year.
The first thing to do is DECIDE ON A THEME. When you have got your theme. preferably one that can mix fact and fiction, go back to the beginning of Book Day Basics and see how you can adapt those activities to fit your theme.
IT WORKS LIKE THIS- FOUR BOOK DAY OUTLINES
Creepy Crawly Day
To talk. demonstrate (with films/slides/live specimens!) about spiders, snakes or any other form of creepy crawly. Try the local university. polytechnic, college or Natural History Society.
Groups of children go out collecting) identifying insects etc. with teacher or local expert. Have lots of reference books on hand. Always involve the local Library or Schools Library Service in your Book Day if you can.
Crafty Creepy Crawlies/Bee Crafty
(Get the idea”)
Make snakes. spiders etc. out of junk. Craft books on hand for ideas.
Ant Act/Flea Fling
Drama Workshop with the emphasis on creepy movements. Caterpillar into butterfly’. The ant hill”.
Ugly Bug Ball/Butterfly Ball
Dress up/paint pictures/design or make costumes.
Hunt the Creepy Crawly
A competition: a sheet of silhouettes of a variety of creepy crawly insects and animals for identification. Use of reference books encouraged. Tie-breaker – invent a name for a Book Day Creepy Crawly.
Creepy Crawly Capers
Games of Beetle. Snakes and Ladders. Creepy Crawly Consequences with book titles or pictures.
Cops and Robbers Day
Book Detectives match pictures of book characters spread around the school with their authors and titles. A good lead-up activity to arouse interest in the days before the event.
A Fair Cop
Visits, talks. demonstrations. films from your local police force.
A Nice Set of Dabs
Making pictures from fingerprints.
Making models, collages, friezes on the theme of the day, or a well-liked story or stories in general.
A Likely Story
Story-telling. reading aloud. or tantalising tastes of exciting adventures.
Shadowing the Suspect
Puppet workshop on shadow puppets. Invent a puppet play.
A book-based film show featuring Tomi Ungerer’s The Three Robbers in the Weston Woods version. For catalogue and details of hire phone Henley-on-Thames (0491) 577033 and reverse the charges.
Dungeons and Dragons Day
Kite-making and flying (weather permitting).
Make your own treasure – models, puppets. jewellery, mobiles from a Dragon Hoard of Junk.
Contact local modelling and Dungeons and Dragons societies for demonstrations and exhibitions. Search out computer software.
Friend or Foe?
Who ought to be put in a Dungeon?
If you needed rescuing from a dragon who would you choose?
Write 100 words for each answer.
Design a menu for a Hungry Dragon’s Favourite Meal.
How many words of 3 or more letters can you make from the word Dungeon’.)
A Find-the-Hidden-Word grid with a fantasy theme.
A Great Reading Rumbustification
A nice general theme for fitting any book activity into.
Write a Rumbustimenu –
in the form of a poem with bags of alliteration.
Launch a new party food for Rumbustiproducts Ltd. – insights into advertising.
Invent a Rumbustiparty Game –
board games. ball games all with full rules and details for playing.
visits from local craft workers who demonstrate their skills – pottery. book binding, lace-making.. .
Things to Do – on a Rumbustifun Sheet
How many words can you find in Rumbustification.
Cut out and colour a book mark.
Design a Rumbustibadge.
Mixed-up book titles.
Whatever the Theme …
The trick as you can see is finding ways to turn the ordinary into the fabulous by adapting activities to fit a theme.
Your theme will give you a focus for the all important BOOK LIST. Display it in the classroom. Print it on give-away book marks.
And for DECORATION – of at least part of the school, especially if a Book Fair is going to be part of your Book Day and you invite parents in the evening. Not everyone will want to go as far as Wellsway School in Keynsham where they turned the gym into Captain Pugwash’s ship, The Black Pig. for their Christmas Book Fair, complete with sails, portholes and bridge from which John Ryan addressed the audience, watched by life-size cutouts of Pugwash characters. But even a little ingenuity and effort can transform a school hall or library.
A BOOK QUIZ can be an exciting ‘.addition. Teams or individuals compete in answering questions on particular books. If author visits are part of your plans choose one of your author’s books for the quiz.
BOOK DAY NEWS. Appoint a team of children, working with a member of staff or visiting expert to produce a Newspaper. Radio or TV programme about The Day. This can be as simple or as elaborate as time and resources allow.
THE BOOK SAFARI is a good focus for a Book Day on any theme. David Neville, an actor and writer, has a very lively one-man show which takes children on a colourful trail through the history of printed books from caveman, through Caxton to the first ever Puffin. Devised specially for 8-12 year olds it can be adapted by arrangement for particular audiences. It lasts about 45 minutes.
Write for details to David Neville, 89 Kennington Park Road. London, SE11 4JJ.
Particular thanks for ideas included here to Tameside Libraries, George Spencer School, Nottingham. Wellsway School. Keynsham.