Andy Seed’s ‘Patron of Reading’ visit to Heather Garth Primary Academy, Rotherham

This week I have had the pleasure of accompanying author and poet Andy Seed on a visit to Heather Garth Primary Academy in Rotherham, where he is Patron of Reading.

Patron of Reading initiative
For those not familiar with the Patron of Reading initiative, it is a way of promoting reading for pleasure through linking an author to a particular school. Interested schools sign up through the Patron of Reading website and can search a database of authors interested in becoming involved with the scheme. Authors then commit to a three year period in which they are the school’s ‘special’ author. There is no prescribed formula for how the relationship should work; each author and school choose how many visits the author will make, sort out payment details, plan any reading activities, special events and so on.

As Book Events for Schools will be organising school visits for Andy Seed, it was great to be invited along to see him in action at his Patron of Reading school.

The Visit
This is Andy’s second visit to the school and we were warmly greeted by Ann Wise, the Headteacher, whilst an on-screen display in the reception area let parents and children know of Andy’s visit. As soon as you stepped in the school it was clear how much literacy is valued; a prominent area near the school reception featured a fantastic display; as well as showcasing Andy’s role as Patron of Reading, it also highlighted Malorie Blackman’s position as Children’s Laureate and featured a display of the top 100 children’s books.

Andy held four sessions throughout the day, ranging from poetry activities with Year 1 to a session with Year 6 children, which concluded with lively performances of some of Andy’s poems. During the workshops with Years 1 and 2, Andy encouraged the children to create their own poems, which they presented in an assembly, sharing their work with their peers and enjoying Andy’s comments and praise.

This was my first experience of seeing the Patron of Reading Scheme in action and I thought it worked fantastically due to the careful pre-planning by Andy (a former teacher) and the efforts of Ann Wise and her team of passionate, enthusiastic teachers. In the staff room at the end of the day, Andy and the teachers were busy planning his next visit and how it will tie in with their curriculum.

Ultimately though, the aim of the scheme is to promote reading for pleasure among children and it was the sense of the children’s enjoyment in Andy’s presence in their school which could be felt throughout the day. They were prepared for his visit, engaged fully in all the activities and seemed really proud to have their ‘own’ author. The icing on the cake was seeing the pleasure on their faces when Andy revealed that Prankenstein, his latest book, is dedicated to Heather Garth Primary Academy. Priceless.

Click on the link to find out more about the Patron of Reading initiative.
Click here to visit Andy Seed‘s website or follow him on Twitter. If you’re interested in Andy visiting your school, please visit the Book Events for Schools site and see Andy’s school visit page.

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