How to inspire children to love reading

If you want to inspire a love of reading in children, let’s get them writing their own book! We can help you spark that lifelong enthusiasm by running a project where the young people not only write and edit their own story but also publish it and create their own book that they can then sell.

In the academic year 2017-18, we worked with the Nunthorpe Academy Y7 Inclusion Group to embark on an amazing journey – to not only write a story, but for each student to publish their own book.

Books written by children for children

The Nunthorpe Academy project was funded by ‘Let Teachers Shine’ and involved one classroom session each week, facilitated by library and teaching staff but led by us. We started in September at the start of the school year by coming up with ideas for stories and talking about plot structure and character archetypes, inspiring the students to think about the type of book they’d like to share with their peers. As the weeks went by, we had sessions in the library looking at amazing first lines and practical sessions on computers, typing up stories.

We were aiming for a 1,000 word story from each student and had the first draft of each first chapter by the end of the first term. A key turning point in the project was a session held in the library where Rachel Wilkinson, who was instrumental in getting the go-ahead for the project and helping us to run it, read the start of each book out loud – without giving away who the author was. As each student heard their work, narrated brilliantly, and saw the reaction of their classmates, which was excitement and admiration for each story, the atmosphere changed from one of trepidation and some frustrations, to one of inspired collaboration and encouragement to finish.

We held a session where we worked on ideas for the illustrations and the book cover, with each student giving us a brief of what they’d like. And finally we held a brilliant session where we went through the proofreading process, teaching each student what to look for and how to mark a manuscript. Each student proofread every book, signing their initials on the front to say it had been done, and making constructive comments to help each other.

The launch event in the summer term, where each student first saw the published paperback copy of their book, was highly emotional and marked an incredible achievement.

At the end of the project, as well as the individual paperback books, we published an eBook collection of all the stories and an audiobook narrated by Rachel Wilkinson.