Schoolkids get reading lessons with a difference

Schoolkids get reading lessons with a difference

27 February 2013

A BALLYNAHINCH primary school has come up with a novel way of encouraging pupils to read.

Drumlins Integrated Primary has invited celebrities and politicians into the classroom to tell the pupils of their favourite books and to read a passage to the children.

Justice Minister David Ford ped in, along with MPs Jim Shannon, Margaret Ritchie and Jeffrey Donaldson, MLAs Michelle McIlveen and Chris Hazzard and television personality Pamela Ballentine.

Later this week the children will hear from Ulster Unionist leader, Mike Nesbitt, world champion water skier, Janet Gray, and there it is rumoured a surprise guest will also be dropping in.

Drumlins Principal Janice Marshall said staff were were thinking of World Book Day and doing something in the school when teacher Glenn Gibson had the idea to invite in different people.

“Glenn helped the children a lot in deciding who to invite and they tried to think of different people. Lots of letters were sent out and people were very good about getting back to us. We got a nice book from Mary Peters as she has another engagement and is unable to make it.

“During the week we will be taking lots of pictures and the children will be putting them together in book form. Then at the end of the week we will have a book swap, with the children swapping two books they have read.

“We’re very grateful for the response from everyone. It is a very good experience for the school council and it encourages everyone to read the school paper, as all reading is good reading.

“The week will give pupils the opportunity to meet and hear from people from many different walks of life. They will get to hear what reading means to them and how it relates to their work.

“We believe this will help pupils to see that reading is not just a school-based activity but a global one,” she said.

Funding for the event came from Ernest Cook Trust, which is linked to other initiatives that have been developed by the school such as a book club.

During the week the school will be running book competitions. Each class will carry out book activities that focus on reading and this will include a Pyjama Day on Friday, March 1, when there will be bedtime stories, milk and cookies for everyone.

Glenn Gibson said even though the children were off on half-term there was a lot of brainstorming on who to invite.

“They don’t know who they are but they are very excited at it all, as are the parents,” he said. “There will be some clergy, parents and some principals from other schools taking part as well.

“This has been a busy year for Drumlins and this is a celebration for the children,” he said.