A BRILLIANTLY organised author visit at Crowmarsh Gifford Primary School in Wallingford

On Friday I visited Crowmarsh Gifford Primary School in Wallingford, and it had to be one of the best organised and most fun author visits I’ve experienced.

Freddy Shannon, the librarian at Watlington Primary, had mentioned me as a local author to parent governor Trish Allen, explaining that I’d talked to the children at Watlington Primary about the importance of planning in writing. Trish Allen, whose children had moved from Watlington to Crowmarsh Gifford Primary then spoke to the head teacher of Crowmarsh Gifford (Barbara O’Dwyer), because she was aware that the Year 5s were learning about planning in writing as part of their literacy work. Once Trish had found out that the school was interested in a visit, Trish contacted the publicity team at Little Brown (kids@littlebrown.co.uk) and asked if I could visit. Little Brown got in touch with me and I said ‘yes please!’

It was arranged that I should speak to 30 Year 5s about planning and writing technique, as well as reading from the book, and that I should then (after lunch) speak to 60 Year 3 and 4s about The Abominators. So the brief was nice and clear.

Trish Allen contacted the Wallingford Bookshop and owner Alison Jinks came along personally with copies of The Abominators, and also advance copies of The Abominators in the Wild (which is not in book shops officially until 2nd May). The whole atmosphere was wonderfully positive, with the teachers, the head teacher Mrs O’Dwyer, the book seller Alison and the involved parent organiser Trish all interested in and working towards one goal – to get the children excited about reading and writing.

And guess what? Genuine enthusiasm about reading is infectious. The children themselves were the most positive and excited I’ve ever talked to.

So well done and a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Mrs O’Dwyer, Alison from Wallingford Books all the teachers at Crowmarsh Gifford – and especially to mover and shaker and book enthusiast Trish Allen. What lucky children to have you all on the case!

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