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Enter the dragon's tale

We are always on the look out to find creative and fun ways to inspire children's writing. Kathryn Galton, our enthusiastic literacy co-ordinator, has used book week to fire the children's and teachers' imaginations.

This year it was a huge event, with the hall transformed into a castle where dragons and storytellers dwell. A huge dragon's head lit from behind and menacing breathing smoke was the centrepiece. Easily styled from chicken wire and Modroc, he jealously guarded his treasure with his huge claws. Story tents made by the children were covered with various styles of writing. Inside the tents were jars full of smells, artwork related to the story, tapes with sound effects and computers playing videos of tales recorded by the children on digital cameras, guaranteed to stimulate the senses and appeal to both boys and girls. Huge banners showing fearsome dragons representing class names for the year hung suspended from the ceiling. Classrooms were full of animated children who spent the whole week buzzing about literacy. Authors from around the globe, storytellers and theatre companies were invited in. Our top tips are:

Plan well in advance.

Keep up the communication and encouragement among staff and spread the workload.

Involve the children in making props. Our dragon's heads, treasure and story tents needed to be started at least two weeks ahead.

Tie in with a theme - dragons are perfect for exploring myths and legends.

Revolve the week around storytelling, rehearsing to w rite by actingtalking first.

Be cross-curricular for relevance and even more enjoyment.

Ask lots of visitors - authors, storytellers, theatre companies.

Invite parents and the community to come along and see what their children have been talking about.

Julie Muncey Deputy head, Commonswood School, Welwyn Garden City, Herts

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