Ready for World Book Day? Ideas to take away!

    Published: 16 February 2021

    This blog contains two resources for downloading designed to support you in implementing these ideas for World Book day 2021.


    Front cover of Kim: A Cautionary Tale by Hilaire Belloc and Mini Grey


    Another super-interesting remote visit with two subject leaders has (as you can see), led to yet another blog – rather sooner than I might have anticipated. My first blog was about Building engagement and pleasure - quick wins for remote learning.

    “Alison, we want to talk about running a remote World Book Day. And we want to focus on poetry. What do you think?”

    I have to admit I replied with, “Off the top of my head, nothing is springing to mind. But let’s toss a few ideas around – and see where we get to.”

    We were able to establish a wish list quite quickly:

    • a whole school approach, although probably with different poems (we ended with two) that would include both Nursery and Reception children
    • a focus on developing reading, with a particular emphasis on reading for purpose and enjoyment
    • to be ‘screen-lite’ for the children
    • to be accessible, but also open-ended
    • to involve minimal planning for class teachers

    From there we decided, again quite quickly, that one outcome for the children should be to prepare a ‘performance read or telling’ of all or part of a poem (fitting in nicely with national curriculum expectations in all primary year groups). And that another should be a ‘published’ piece of written work inspired by the poem (allowing for creativity and demonstration of ongoing learning).

    We felt there should be a whole school sharing of the poem (or as it turned out in this case two separate sharings for the different age-ranges) that would include an explanation of the task and modelling of a polished performance. Then a gathering together at the end, probably in class groups, to share some outcomes. Both of these could be recorded so that children unable to access the live ‘shows’ could still take part.

    Then the fun bit. Trying out a range of poems and rhymes. Considering some, rejecting others. All the time thinking: what are the children really going to ENJOY?

    We came up with ….

    For YN to Y1 the staple, Five Little Ducks went swimming one day. Because the children love it, and know it, and there is so much you can do with it. We felt Y1 certainly, could make their own adaptations. Here are ours!


    Staff with amusing characters


    For Y2 to Y6: Jim - the adaptation of Hilaire Belloc’s cautionary tale by Mini Grey. Because it’s utterly glorious. The poem had everything we wanted for something that children could perform – rhyme, rhythm and a story. Mini Grey’s illustrations and layout would inspire, engage, and support deeper thinking about the children’s own presentations.

    A massive thank you to Mini Grey and her publishers for allowing us to use images from the book. Do remember that any recorded whole book sharing should be shared privately, for school community use and not shared more widely on a public platform.

    Mini’s website: ‘Sketching weakly with Mini Grey’ is here - and full of gorgeousness.

    And here are links to previous blogs about some of her other and equally great books: Traction Man and The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show.

    You can find task outlines for the two poems and some suggestions for the initial poem sharing and performance-creating for your World Book Day Take-Away – should you like to join us.


    Graphic with text


    My main ‘top tip’ about sharing Jim is that you need a friend! Someone to stand behind you and record over your shoulder. The children don’t need to see your face in this instance; they do need to hear the words and to see the tale unfold through the ways in which the book has been laid out. You can see me reading an extract below:


    And finally, huge thanks also to Zoe and Abbie from Oakwood school. I can’t wait to see what your children produce!


    Playful illustration of pets and children


    Contact details

    Latest blogs

    Receive our latest posts direct to your inbox...