This week, Northampton Academy has welcomed seven children’s authors to deliver talks and literary workshops to students as part of the school’s 2019 LitFest.
The week-long festival aims to nurture students’ love of books and builds on the Academy’s commitment to make 2019 the ‘Year of Reading’. Throughout the year, the school has promoted positive attitudes towards reading and given students the opportunity to engage with books of all genres. This has been achieved through a range of new initiatives, including dedicating time for students to read every day in tutor period and allowing regular ‘DEAR’ time where students can ‘Drop Everything And Read’.
Through LitFest19, students have seen the world of literature brought to life and interacted with popular children’s authors Steve Cole, Christopher Edge, Jane Elson, Emma Filtness, Dan Freedman, Mark Grist and Bali Rai. In whole year group talks, students have been hearing from the professional writers about their journeys to becoming published authors, their creative processes and where they find inspiration. They have also been taking part in writing workshops led by the authors, where they have learnt top tips from the experts, challenged themselves to explore different genres and techniques and asked any questions they have.
At the start of the week, the school also welcomed Year 6 students from across the local area for their transition day ahead of joining the academy in September. As part of the day, the young pupils enjoyed an interactive session with Dan Freedman and also received a free copy of the author’s ‘Born to Play’ book, helping to kick-start their summer reading.
In line with the academy’s commitment to deliver an Education with Character to all students, the festival presents an exciting and educational opportunity for students to learn new creative techniques, develop confidence in their own reading and writing ability and strengthen their communication skills. The school library will also be running a discounted Book Fair throughout the week where students can purchase their favourite books written by the authors.
Year 6 transition student Connie Duff said:
“When bestselling author Dan Freedman came in and gave us a talk about his job on transition day, everyone had a face of amazement! Dan explained how his books were rejected for a time and after he tweaked the book numerous times, it was successful and he had offers from publishers. His books are now bestselling. I totally recommend these books – they’re amazing. His speech has inspired me to be ambitious and carry on working hard in English and other lessons. Thank you again Dan!”
Dan Freedman said after his visit:
“Thank you for inviting me. I was so impressed by everything the school is doing to encourage reading. Keep up the brilliant work and I hope the rest of the festival goes fantastically well.”
Katie Vince, English teacher at Northampton Academy, said:
“LitFest is an exciting way to celebrate the academy’s drive on reading, which students have really embraced this year. The free book giveaway for students starting with us in Year 7 encourages them to read and to share something in common. It also introduces the academy’s focus and love for reading with our newest members – something we hope they will keep throughout their time with us.”
Nat Parnell, Principal at Northampton Academy, said:
“Providing our students with the opportunity to participate in events and experiences like LitFest is how we deliver a rich and broad character education at Northampton Academy. We are always looking for interesting ways to complement the academic learning in the classroom, so we are proud to be able to offer opportunities like this that nurture and challenge our young people, and help them develop into capable, creative and confident individuals.”