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School of the Term

29th April 2020

We are delighted to announce that Alverstoke Infant School are the winners of our School of the Term award for Spring Term Two!

Celebrated six times a year, School of the Term is a half-termly award that is given to one UK or EU school that has had a fantastic event with an Usborne Organiser. We are very keen to showcase the amazing things that schools have achieved through working with their Usborne Organiser  it isn't just about the amount of money raised, but the difference made to the positive reading culture of that school.

Alverstoke Infant School worked closely with Usborne Organiser, Emma Bailey, to bring one of Usborne's much-loved series to life – to the delight of everyone involved!

Emma explains why she feels the school deserve this recognition:

"After 2019's Dream Bigger event, I felt incredibly privileged to be amongst the many Organisers who got to meet and listen to the lovely Zanna Davidson.

I loved her ethos and the reasons behind creating her 'Mini Monsters'  every child can relate to them. Every child dreams of becoming something but experiences problems, phobias and setbacks along the way. However the Mini Monsters give them hope and a deeper feeling that they CAN tackle anything they put their mind to.

Therefore, feeling really inspired, I decided to make a mini workshop with activities all set around these cute, very loveable little monsters. I wanted children, for World Book Day and in fact any time, to be able to "bring books to life" by making them relatable and giving them context  just like Zanna did at Dream Bigger!

So I set out to achieve this with my son's school: Alverstoke Infant School, in Gosport. I kickstarted the event by giving each teacher a copy of Billy and the Mini Monsters to introduce the children to the story and fall in love with the characters - and they sure did!

We then had an assembly where I launched their sponsored read. We then had workshops all day children from Reception to Year 2 all joined in!

I made clay models of the Mini Monsters, and brought them to life by hiding them around the room (almost as if they had just escaped the sock drawer!). I then read my favourite part of the book and we talked about our favourite characters.

Although Captain Snott proved particularly popular, I loved the reasons the children who picked Peep gave: "Peep is my favourite because I am shy like him, but we are full of good ideas even though we are quiet." I thought that was incredibly powerful from Year 2 children!

The children then had recording devices to explore the characters' voices and acted out their favourite parts using the storytelling spoons that I had decorated to resemble the characters. We also used scenario cards to discuss how the Mini Monsters could help in different situations – the children even went back to class afterwards and made their own Mini Monsters. We had such fun!"

As a cherry on top of a Billy and the Mini Monsters-shaped cake, author Zanna Davidson kindly provided a video for Emma to share with the school!

Headteacher, Steph Greenwood, said: "Emma kindly offered to support our World Book Day events in school, and we were more than happy to take up her offer! She started the day with a whole-school assembly, and then organised a selection of fun activities related to Billy and his Mini Monsters. 

The children went along in class groups to listen to the story and do the activities, and they had a great time. Lots of the children went along to Emma's pop-up book sale at the end of the day just to put an order in for that book! Alongside this, Emma ran a sponsored read which we hope will result in a few much-needed new books for our school library."

Both Emma's and the pupils' hard work meant that the school received £550 worth of free books on top of the money raised through sponsorship. They also worked together last year to hold a book stall to raise money for their guided reading books. Not only did they raise a further £350, but they now have all the reading box sets for guided reading time!

Congratulations once again! We loved hearing about all of your creativity in bringing the Mini Monsters to life and the way it has encouraged a wonderful whole-school reading culture.