In mark of World Book Day, Preston North End welcomed an array of guests including Chris Maxwell who came together to celebrate the wonders of picking up a book.
Several partner schools who engage with PNE’s Reading Stars Programme were invited to Deepdale where they able to pick up a pencil and let their imaginations run wild through storytelling.
They were aided in their creativity by author Rhona Whiteford, who came and discussed her experiences in storytelling and encouraged children to show their creative side - something which Headteacher Leanne Finch from St Aidan’s Primary School believed was a fantastic way of getting pupils engaged.
“The children have done some amazing things by getting involved in ways that they’ve never been involved in before,” said Leanne whose school was invited down as part of North End’s Reading Stars Programme; an initiative which looks to use the power of football and sport to inspire and educate by using a range of texts about football which includes newspapers and magazines.
“The ideas that Rhona has put forward such as describing themselves is brilliant. The children aren’t really good at that but Rhona has shown how they can unzip that character and let out their inner self which the children have enjoyed doing. That works throughout all year groups as well as thinking about settings, other character and all of the features that make a story in such a fun and exciting way that the children can access.”
The inspiring morning continued when shot stopper Chris Maxwell joined Deepdale Duck in the workshop, who discussed his love of reading and how important it is to read in his development as a footballer, something which Leanne continued to praise.
“We’ve had some special appearances from Deepdale Duck and Chris Maxwell which has just heightened the day for the kids. Hearing about Chris’ ideas and his love of books has just made the children more excited and more willing to go back to school to read and write.
“Rhona has inspired the children in ways that I’ve never seen before. Some of our boys who are reluctant writers have some fantastic ideas and are quite excited about going back to school and writing their stories. I can’t promote this enough and the impact going forward is going to be huge.”
Joining Leanne in her glowing assessment of the morning saw Mrs Edmunds and Miss Scott of Lea Endowed Primary School, who spoke to the matchday programme all about a day they labelled as ‘memorable’.
“Rhona knew exactly how to capture their imagination,” said Miss Scott, who acts as a teaching assistant in the school. “Rhona was able to ask the right questions to open up their imagination. Not only that, hearing somebody they look up to be so enthusiastic like Chris Maxwell was about reading makes it a lot more exciting which makes it kind of cool for them to read as well.
Mrs Edmunds added: “To meet the author Rhona Whiteford was great for the children and it’s given inspiration to create stories at school. Linking it to something they love just encourages reading for children. They were very star struck and they’ll be thinking about it for the rest of the day.”
Find out more about North End's schools provision here.