As the Government’s Reading for Pleasure initiative has permeated in to schools many are highlighting this as an area for development in their action plans. Lancashire County Council have also recognised a need to promote reading  through their ‘We are Reading’ initiative.

As teacher educators we see it as our role to demonstrate the importance of working in partnership with schools and their communities to promote the love of reading more widely.

The Bookbench project itself was developed as a result.  We saw an opportunity to link the Book bench project completed in university in 2015 with a local community initiative, ‘What’s Your Story, Chorley?’

The project has involved collaboration between 12 local schools, FoE lecturers and students and the local council.

Schools and future teachers have worked together to research books, themes and authors to ignite a passion for reading in their school. Children have submited there ideas and designs for their bench portraying their knowledge of books.

In addition this year, Year 2 Undergraduates have worked with groups of children in school to research books and autors to create a web page about the book depicted on their bench. These web pages will be accessed through a QR code attachd to the bench. It is hoped that this not only encourwages the children involved to develop their interst but also to  encourage the community to explore a widerrange of books and authors.

The trainees expenses for the project where funded by the Student Opportunity Fund, click here for further information.

School children and students have also created a bookbench trail quiz to encourage local children to develop the knowledge of children’s books and authors. The first five correct quizzes drawn will receive a £5 book token.

The benches will be displayed creating a trail throughout Chorley town centre from 15th April to 5th May 2018.

On Saturday  28th April 2018 11am-4pm students lecturers and children will take part in ‘What’s Your Story Chorley?’ a free festival of words including reading, writing and storytelling. The day brings authors, storytellers and poets to the streets of Chorley. There will be opportunities to meet authors listen to poetry or watch dramatic presentations in venues across Chorley town centre.

Students, teachers, lecturers and children will dress up as characters from children’s books and students will read stories on the benches and in St Laurence’s Church.

To view the websites created by the trainees and pupils please click on the below links:

School Website
St Peters CE Chorley
Coppul Primary
Sacred Heart Catholic Primary
Withnell St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
Charnock Richard CE Primary
St James CE Primary
Mawdesley St Peters Primary
Gillibrand Primary
Chorley St Mary’s Catholic Primary
Brinscall St John’s  Primary
Duke Street Primary
St John’s CE Primary Whittle    winnie the pooh wittle