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18 World Book Day ideas for primary teachers

World Book Day open book

Get planning for the literary event of the year this March, and celebrate in style with these World Book Day ideas for schools…

by Teachwire
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World Book Day 2023 falls on Thursday 2nd March, but it’s never to early to start thinking ahead and planning events for your school.

Here we’ve picked out our favourite World Book Day ideas for teachers that will promote reading and get kids excited about books in your school.

If you’re after teaching resources, we’ve also got you covered with our list of World Book Day 2023 ideas and resources for KS1 and KS2.

World Book Day resources pack

This free resource pack from Plazoom includes six brilliant ideas that can be used in KS1 and KS2 to celebrate World Book Day.

Ideas include creating a vlog about your favourite book, a ‘Masked reader’ guessing game, an emoji book quiz and more, with all the resources you need included in the pack.

Download this special resource pack here.

1 | Literacy murals

By Daniel Thornhill, Derby

“We created two literacy murals representing both the ideas that come from reading and also the house system of our Academy.

“Students from the school worked with a local professional artist to design the original wall, and as it was so successful we created another.”

2 | Create a supervillain

By Lucy Hennessy, Bristol

“We had a class discussion to create a supervillain. Our villain was called Trevor Vickers; International Story Stealer.

“Within class, we created crime scenes, newspaper articles and wanted posters for Trevor Vickers. We then wrote stories and chose wow words to defeat him.

“We then rounded it off with a huge pantomime where teachers dressed as Trevor and we acted out some of the stories we had created together.”

3 | Character personality

By Julia Sutherland, Edinburgh

“Bedrooms reflect a person’s personality. Design one for the character in your story.

“Think about the things in your own bedroom – did you choose the wallpaper, duvet cover, bed? How long ago?

“What things do you have lying about – devices, clothes, homework or old toys. Is it tidy or messy?

“Cut pictures out of magazines to show what it would look like and add reasons for your choices in text pop-outs.”

4 | Skype an author

By Lisa Willcocks, Billesdon

“Have a Skype interview with children’s authors to raise the profile of reading in school, promote new literature and enable children to frame good-quality questions to find out information.”

5 | Blind date with a book

By Valerie Black, Kilmarnock

“Last February, I wrapped up books in brown paper and wrote a dating-ad-style description on the front.

Pupils chose a book based on the description. They weren’t allowed to unwrap the book until they left the library.

Inside the package was a bookmark for pupils to fill in a book review. One winner was chosen from all the bookmarks that were handed back – they won a box of love heart sweets and a book.”

6 | Create a soundtrack to a reading

By Geraldine Brennan, London

“Choose a short novel, story or narrative poem that’s fun to read aloud to a group (or play an audio book recording) and create sound effects for it.

“These can be self-generated (voices and body noises – clicking, shuffling, stamping and so on), hand-made (dried peas in a can) or sophisticated (using music technology software): do whatever resources and the group’s enthusiasm permits!”

7 | Extreme reading competition

By Ken Maslin, London

“Ask parents to take photos of their children reading in extreme (or at least very unusual) places on smartphones and email them in to school to display on World Book Day. Google ‘extreme reading’ for inspiration.”

8 | Book trailers

By Susan Waller, Tunbridge Wells

“Book trailers are a great way for students to promote books to their peers and learn lots of skills too.

“They can be as simple as PowerPoint presentations or images put into Movie Maker or be full-blown videos.

“Online software such as Animoto can also be used. We held a competition which created a real buzz around favourite books, and we have a collection of trailers we can keep.”

9 | Comic making

By Hannah Sackett, Bath

“Children made comics and mini-books based on their topic work. The finished comics were displayed in the hall and the children were given the chance to read each other’s comics.”

10 | Tasty book competition

By Julie Settle, Thetford

“We ran a cake-making/decorating competition with entries based on a literary theme. The cakes were sold at lunchtime to raise funds for new books for the library.”

11 | Book speed dating

By Madeleine Beach, Leicester

“We tried Book Speed-dating in the library About 20 students brought along a copy of their favourite book, and had a minute to tell the person opposite about it before swapping partners.

“At the end we hoped every student would have met a book they would like to read!”

12 | Six-word story competition

By Lesley Pearce, Reading

“Using Ernest Hemingway as inspiration, who, as the legend goes, wrote: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” when challenged to write a story in just six words, organise a competition open to staff and students getting them to do the same.”

13 | Writes of passage

By Sarah Maxted, Berkhamsted School

“Fill out an index card with a book which has meant the world to you… Let it be your Write of Passage to share with others!”

14 | Library book trail

By Ms Chadwick, Newcastle

“The first clue is collected from the librarian eg ‘a teenage wizard starts his new school in this book’, and the child then needs to find this book in the library.

“Tucked inside the cover is a clue to the next novel in the trail. This was a Year 9 student’s idea, and it was the Year 9 students who created the clues and setup the trails.”

15 | Story as a school

By Nicola Slack, Buckfast

“Each teacher brings an interesting or unusual object to school. One teacher starts a story with her class using that object.

“The story is then emailed to the next class who continue the story, incorporating their teacher’s chosen object.

“At the end of the day, the completed story is shared as part of World Book Day with the whole school in an assembly.”

16 | Doors as book jackets

By R Graves, Kendal

“We had a competition between all the forms for decorating their classroom doors – it created a real buzz about books around school.”

17 | Character guessing

By Emily Hagan, Stillorgan

“There are two people – one has to describe a character and the other has to draw what they’re describing.

“The one who’s describing has to give a mark out of ten on how close the character was to their description.”

18 | Classics as comics

By Naomi Bedworth, Hull

“Pupils were asked to re-tell a classic tale in a comic format. We ran this as a competition in KS3 and a colleague in the art department judged it.

“She was amazed by the quality of the entries. We had all sorts of tales from Shakespeare to fables and bible stories.”

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