Is it me or does World Book Day come round more than once a year?
World Book Day and Dressing Up
I’m a massive advocate of nurturing a lifelong love of reading. I also like the idea of anything that promotes this. However, the whole dressing up rigmarole that accompanies World Book Day (WBD) often eclipses its aim. All the mums I’ve spoken to seem pretty unanimous in their weariness about this aspect of WBD – “I just need something cheap and easy” is the cry.
First there’s the process of deciding on the character. This is labour intensive. I listed all the great books my children had read and suggested characters from these. However, every idea was vetoed. Then we had the discussion about why they couldn’t go as film characters. At 11, my eldest just wants to be the same as her friends and dress up as Thing One, Thing Two and Thing Three despite not enjoying the Dr Seuss books.
Finding the time
Life is busy. I don’t really have much time (and crucially ability) to make three costumes. We try to find stuff at home than can be used and adapted, but that only gets us so far, so I end up having to spend money to complete costumes. That’s another downside; there’s a lot of pressure on time poor parents to throw money at the whole thing.
Also, let’s not forget, some children hate dressing up. Maria was all set on being Delphie from one of the Darcey Bussell books and then panicked that “the boys would laugh at her for being in a ballerina dress.” I’ve talked her round.
Other things to do on World Book Day
There are umpteen dressing up events at our school throughout the year, perhaps the focus of WBD could be on other activities…
- My children have been set a number of reading tasks by school to complete. It’s more interesting than it sounds…
- One of our favourites, Michael Rosen got back to me on Twitter and suggested Adopt an author
Adopt an author: each class chooses an author for the day, find out everything they can about that author, make posters, read out bits of their books, read whole books. Classes work out how to do a presentation of a book and do the pres. for another class.— Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes) March 2, 2020
He says to be imaginative when presenting a book to another class. For example, do ‘freeze frames’, act out a scene, do a mime from a scene from the book while someone narrates, do ‘guess the book’ shows, quizzes, mock interviews with the ‘author’ or a character from the book.
- The money that would be spent on costumes could contribute towards getting in a guest author. As the late Jonny Zucker said in an article for The Guardian:
“…if an author visit goes well, some pupils will get more of a writing confidence-boost in one day than they normally would in a whole term; some will crack how to plot a story and will go off to compose their first magnum opus; and some will discover that writing can actually be fun.”
- The children at my friend’s daughter’s school are redesigning book covers for a competition. What a lovely activity and something that helps children translate words to pictures.
- Play consequences – Everyone in class gets the chance to become a contributing author in this traditional parlour game. Perhaps the resulting ‘story’ can then be expanded and edited.
- Read part of an unfamiliar text together as a class and then each child writes the rest of the story.
- Get them to channel their inner Roald Dahl and make their own version of a Gobblefunk dictionary of descriptive made-up words
- Get involved with your local library. Many libraries run special events for World Book Day for children of all ages. Keep an eye on your local library’s social media channels and website for details of events. Here are some for Surrey libraries
What was decided
If it all gets too much just remember the dad who took inspiration from the Argos catalogue…