The day started off with a real treat, at 9:30 the school bell rang and our pupils and staff Dropped Everything And Read! With every pupil possessing a book, it was a wonderful sight, and just shows the kind of reading culture we have here at QEGS. This was a whole school event, and certainly one that we will remember for quite some time. Tutors were encouraged to take photos of their groups reading – we had some amazing and quite imaginative shots. A competition was held for the best photos showing our pupils reading. During the event Sufiya had the opportunity to tour school and drop in on some of these groups, which really was the icing on the cake for us.
After the excitement of the D.E.A.R. event all Year 7 and 8 pupils were given the opportunity to work with Sufiya. Our pupils were well prepared for Sufiya’s visit, and very familiar with her work, some having read her book well in advance of her arrival. Following on from these lively and interactive author sessions, which helped to enthuse and motivate our pupils about the joy of reading, Sufiya was then available to sign books. Everyone in school had the chance to meet and chat with her, books were also available to purchase.
In the afternoon Sufiya ran creative writing workshops with Year 12. She shared all of her expertise as an author and member of parliament, making her writing seem tangible and real. She helped to motivate writing, ignited sparks and demystified creativity – what a fabulous trait to have.
After a wonderful day, it was time for Sufiya to leave. Year 8 Pupil Librarians presented Sufiya with a token of our thanks and a lovely hand-made thank you card.
Meeting an author, illustrator, poet or storyteller in real life and hearing them convey their passion for their work can fundamentally alter a child or young person’s relationship to books. It can ignite a life-long love of reading, and this visit certainly did just that!
Sufiya explained to our pupils that authors become authors by being persistent. Talent means that something comes easy for someone, but writing is rarely easy. It never comes out the way you plan. Sufiya admitted that many times she had hit brick walls and wanted to give up – but her persistent nature took hold, and eventually she had her first book published. An inspirational author indeed.