Literacy - Happy ending for a bookworm teacher

13th December 2013 at 00:00
He wins a TES competition to appear on a children's TV show

Once upon a time, there was a teacher called Des Hegarty. Mr Hegarty liked telling stories so much that when TES issued a proclamation saying it was looking for the best teacher storyteller in the kingdom, he signed up immediately.

Now, he has achieved the 21st-century version of living happily ever after: a special guest appearance on British television programme Bookaboo. "I used to be an actor, years ago," said Mr Hegarty, a teacher at Wilbury Primary School in North London. "Teaching brings out the best of those performance skills."

Earlier this year, TES launched a competition offering the opportunity to appear as guest storyteller in an episode of Bookaboo. Teachers from across the country sent in audition tapes and the winner was voted for by users of TES Connect.

The programme stars a drum-playing "rock puppy" puppet, so addicted to stories that he cannot appear on stage without a quick fix. Singer Meat Loaf, children's author Michael Rosen and former Spice Girl Melanie C have appeared on the show.

"It isn't the case that only if you're a celebrity can you read a book to a child," said the show's creator, Lucy Goodman. "I needed to find someone who could really captivate children."

The production team filmed Mr Hegarty as he read from picture book Pigeon Poo. "I'm having to use the same tactics to grab the puppet's attention as I use for the children," he said.

Des Hegarty's appearance on Bookaboo will be broadcast on ITV and CITV at 7.25am on 14 December.

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