Page 23 - Independent Schools Magazine
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  Star of the Story
Bedford Prep School Year 3 boys discovered how fun reading is when you are part of the story, with Patron of Reading and top author Steve Skidmore on hand to guide them through their fun session.
First up, the boys enjoyed a highly-entertaining and interactive reading from ‘Action Dogs’, which
Steve describes as ‘Wallace and Gromit meets the Thunderbirds’. The fun tale was accompanied by some acting from the boys and even members of staff.
The boys were then wowed by the future of reading as they became the heroes of the ‘Two Steves’ new online mobile game and book, New Star Soccer G-Story. They were excited to see their names appear in the story, decide the twists and turns in the tale, and even score a goal.
Year 4 also got in on the fun, with a session by Steve on writing superhero stories.
 Literary delights
Sibford School Oxfordshire pupils have boosted their language con dence after watching a French play.
Pupils in Years 3 – 7 were given the opportunity to see an early production of a new French play when they welcomed actors Sion and Laura from Onatti Productions to the school.
Set in 1540, ‘Le Château’ tells the story of a young English knight who has been sent to France to  nd a beautiful French girl to be the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. Having found the girl, all the knight must do is paint her portrait and
return to England. The problem is, he only knows a little French and has never painted in his life!
Dolores Papin, Head of Languages, explained: “As a company, Onatti’s aim is to boost pupils’ language con dence through amusing drama. The play was performed in French and English but the pupils were able to follow the plot and recognise many of the French words and phrases used. It was a fantastic performance and they really loved it.”
Onatti Productions are touring ‘Le Château’ nationwide until July 2018.
The Literary Festival at Godolphin School, Wiltshire, proved a resounding success, attracting audiences totalling well over a thousand who varied in age from nursery children to senior citizens.
The School was full of aspiring feature writers following Giles Hattersley’s opening talk. He grabbed everyone’s attention
with his tales of interviewing
stars ranging from Mary Berry to Ariana Grande in his years as chief interviewer at The Sunday Times. When the newly appointed Features Director of Vogue let slip that one of his early interviews had been with Justin Bieber, the teenagers in the audience sat up, and his many anecdotes about different celebrities’ behaviour amused all ages.
Tracy Chevalier’s arrival created a huge buzz (pictured). Topping the
bill, the internationally renowned novelist is best known for her story Girl with a Pearl Earring, which was made into a  lm starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, and her talk attracted a large audience into Godolphin. She discussed her latest book, New Boy, a retelling of Othello which she has set in a playground in 1970s America and reminisced about her own primary school years in Washington.
The Festival’s last evening
event was pure entertainment with comedy writing duo
Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris explaining the stories behind their pastiches of Ladybird Books.
300 pupils from 13 primary and secondary schools in and around Salisbury also visited for a full schools’ programme.
Free book festival for primary school children
Sibford’s French connection!
Children’s authors and performers came together to put on a free literacy festival to bring the magic of books and stories to over 400 children from 14 primary schools across inner London as part of Beanstalk BookFest.
The event marked the 2nd year of the annual Beanstalk BookFest, organised by children’s literacy charity Beanstalk and held across two venues which have been provided by Frances Holland School in Belgravia and the Chickenshed Theatre in Southgate. Beanstalk helps children who struggle with their reading by providing trained volunteer reading helpers who work one-to-one with children in primary schools and early years’ settings.
Each year Beanstalk invites its London partner schools to attend Beanstalk BookFest, which is always generously supported by authors and performers who give their
time to deliver inspiring talks and interactive sessions for the children. This year children were treated to the likes of Alex T Smith, author and illustrator of the Claude books and
Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure, Maz Evans, author of Who Let the Gods Out and the sequel Simply the Quest, as well as the Really Big Pants Theatre Company performing their show Suddenly!
Each child also had their Beanstalk BookFest completed by receiving
a book gift, which was generously provided by the parents of Frances Holland School.
Lucy R Elphinstone, Head Teacher at Frances Holland School, said: “Many children have never experienced
the joy of curling up with a book and learning of heroes and battles, of friendships and curses, of love and death. Beanstalk reaches out
to those children who might not otherwise know the pleasure that reading can bring and gives them the precious gift of reading. At Francis Holland School, we are thrilled to support Beanstalk once more in hosting their second Beanstalk Children’s Bookfest and we hope that many dozens of children will discover the wonderful world of books.”
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