Budding authors: Elliott Primary School pupils during a book session. *Photo by Sirkka Huish

Budding authors: Elliott Primary School pupils during a book session. *Photo by Sirkka Huish

Staff at Elliot Primary School are on a mission to make every child a published author.

Whether they have the ability to write a few words or a few hundred pages, every child is treated like a budding author.

Staff insist the school in Hermitage Road, Devonshire, is “all about reading” as they have literally gone “berserk with books”.

Children at the school engage in interactive read-alouds at least four times a day.

Author studies are also regularly held where children focus on a particular author’s work and study their background so they learn authors are “no different to you and me.”

And children aren’t the only ones with books in their hands at Elliot, as every staff member can also be seen reading. A huge notice board shows photos of more than 30 staff members with their favourite reading material. This includes the principal, school secretary and custodians with books, devotional literature and newspapers.

Elliot’s literacy coordinator Pauletta Francis said reading was the school’s top focus as they were “springing into books”.

She said: “Reading is an absolutely critical skill. We have to show children the importance and joy of reading to prevent an illiterate society.

“We tell children that they are authors like the ones they hear.

“They absolutely love reading and we call them all budding authors.”

She added: “The children love the interaction, they are always asking when they are going to get another story. They sit, listen and learn.”

It is Ms Francis’s job to work with P1-P3 teachers to encourage students to read saying the “more read-alouds, the better.”

She says interactive read aloud sessions take place as soon as students get to school, just before lunch, sometime in the afternoon and just before they go home. Children either read a whole book or a chapter of a longer book.

Ms Francis said: “The students are engaged in books, whether it is fiction, non-fiction, poetry or science.

“Interactive read-aloud sessions get the children to understand the use of language and how words sound, they become better readers and writers and are encouraged to engage in discussions.

“It has really improved their reading, writing and vocabulary, they can summarise stories and predict what is going to happen next and can name their favourite authors.”

One of the children’s favourite authors is Robert Munsch, they can relate to him as he was found to be gifted in writing despite being “a nuisance in school”.

P1 students have made a huge notice board to share what they know about Mr. Munsch, who has published poetry and stories including Aaron’s Hair and Alligator Baby.

Ms Francis has also sent home tips for parents on how to raise readers and instill a love of reading in their children. The tips include creating a literacy-rich home, joining the library, discussing the books you read with your children and visiting the websites of your favourite authors.

Elliot Primary School will have a literacy day on Thursday, June 17 where everyone will dress up as story characters and take part in “lots of fun and educational literacy events”.