Shrewsbury House School has for a number years invited children’s authors to visit the School to speak to our boys about their books, their style of writing and also what inspired them to become an author. We decided to share these experiences with one of our local schools, Hinchley Wood School, as we have found it extremely beneficial in encouraging our boys to read and write creatively.
This year we hosted pupils from Hinchley Wood School, for the visit of John Boyne, author of ‘The boy in the striped pyjamas’. John came to speak about his series of books, including his latest title, ‘The boy at the top of the mountain.’ We were the only school that he visited as part of this new book launch and we felt it would be a great opportunity to share this prestigious event with one of our neighbouring schools. John spoke about his motivations for writing, including some of the challenges that he faced growing up, which added a very human element to the morning that he spent with us.
Later in the academic year, we were invited by Hinchley Wood School to listen to children’s author Dan Freedman. Dan has written a series of books based on football and the character Jamie Johnson. Dan has a background working in media and PR, for the Football Association and showed us clips from interviews with famous players such as, Rio Ferdinand. Once again this was a very engaging talk and certainly seemed to strike a chord with the audience of Yr 7 and 8 boys and girls.
The aims of the partnership are to share access to a range of children’s authors to encourage children to engage more and enjoy reading and creative writing.
The partnership came about through our School Librarian contacting Hinchley Wood School and inviting them to be part of the visit we were hosting with John Boyne.
A room large enough to seat the audience, and teaching staff to supervise the children. The talks usually last about one hour with a question and answer session. This is followed by an opportunity for the children to get a signed copy of their favourite book or ask the author further questions.
The benefits of the visits have been that ‘reluctant readers’ have become far more engaged in reading and writing. The children have shown a genuine enthusiasm for books, fired by having direct interaction with famous authors. There has also been an improvement in the English language skills of many children as they have been encouraged to read and write more frequently.
The children involved were boys and girls from Years 7 and 8 at Hinchley Wood and boys from the same year groups at Shrewsbury House School.
The collaboration between the schools is ongoing, with two author visits this academic year and more in the pipeline for next year.