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Pirates prove a treasure

I bought the "Imagine you're a..." series of books by Meg Clibbon for our school library after falling in love with them in a bookshop, and straight away they became a firm favourite with our children.

In fact, it became hard to track them down, as they barely touched the shelves before going out again.

As library co-ordinator, I organise an author visit each term to inspire our children to read a wider range of books, and when I realised how popular these books were, I decided to invite Meg Clibbon.

I planned a library competition to coincide with the visit; the children had to design a poster advertising their own "Imagine you're a..." book.

Their ideas ranged from angels and elves to pop stars and teachers.

When I announced in assembly that Meg Clibbon would be coming in, lots more entries began to materialise.

Our day had a pirate theme and children and teachers dressed up in pirate outfits. The children really enjoyed getting into the role, particularly the sword fighting at playtime.

Meg took a Year group at each of her sessions, telling the story of the Tudor pirate Grace O'Malley to Years 5 and 6 and doing drama activities with Years 3 and 4.

The children were enthralled and enjoyed meeting a real-life author, especially as they could buy a signed copy of one of her books.

The teachers continued the pirate theme throughout the day - for example, using treasure maps in numeracy and making pirate accessories such as hats, eye patches and cutlasses.

Meg showed Year 5 the stages she and her daughter Lucy go through when planning the text and illustrations.

The following week we incorporated these stages into our literacy planning.

The children have designed and written their own two pages and a front and back cover in a similar style to Meg Clibbon's.

I have never known the children to work so quietly. They have really enjoyed following the same steps as a real author.

Louise Ellam Year 5 teacher and library co-ordinator, Chater Junior School, Watford, Hertsl www.annickpress.comaiclibbon-m.html

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