Pupils at one Dundee school are overjoyed to be taking part in a book relay and reading challenge to mark the 25th anniversary of Harry Potter.
P7K, at Tayview Primary School, are one of 25 classes across the UK taking part in Miles of Magic: The Harry Potter Book Relay, as organised by the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Publishing.
They are the only class in Scotland to have been selected for the Harry Potter book relay – making their involvement even more exciting for the youngsters.
The class were sent a trunk of goodies, including 48 copies of a special 25th anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, not yet released to the public.
And they received an extra special copy of the novel, in which they are allowed to create their own additions to 13 pages.
Sent in a relay, this book will eventually have visited all of the 25 participating schools, each completing personalised additions to pages, before returning to London in time for the official launch event of the anniversary edition.
Wait, there’s more!
The lucky classmates also took part in an online drawing session with Harry Potter illustrator, Jonny Duddle, who showed them how to draw Hagrid.
AND they will be given a virtual tour of Harry Potter Studio London next month.
Teacher Ellie Kidd, who describes herself as a massive Harry Potter fan, had already led classwork on the book with the pupils before they were selected for the project.
She said: “The children were so excited when the chest arrived filled with books, a cloak, Gryffindor scarf, Harry Potter glasses and activity books.
“There’s not been much going on in school for so long, trips have been cancelled for two years and they haven’t even been allowed to get things in, so this was really exciting.
“And knowing they were the only school in Scotland to get it made them feel really special.”
Learning to draw Hagrid
Quickly after the arrival of the chest, then came another surprise for the children when they took part in an online workshop with Jonny.
He showed the youngsters how to draw Hagrid, in a step by step approach, and gave them tips for their own drawing.
Ellie said: “He talked about where he gets inspiration from. He said that if he was struggling with Hagrid’s hands in a certain position, for example, then he would take lots of photos of real hands.
“It was a great way for the children to learn they could take inspiration from the real world for their art.
“They really enjoyed it. The way he led the session was accessible for all children, so even the ones who might feel like they’re not very strong at art were able to draw Hagrid.”
Rewards for reading
The class are currently reading their new novels – the first in the Harry Potter series – and plotting their progress along a map on the classroom wall.
‘Rewards’ are received on the map as they advance through it. If the pupils complete the book by April 1, they will complete the challenge and be able to enter into a prize draw.
This competition is run independently from the Harry Potter book relay and anyone wanting to join the challenge can still do so.
It aims to encourage a culture of reading for pleasure in schools and a passion for reading within youngsters.
Jenni Leigh, manager at Dundee’s National Literacy Trust hub, said: “At its core, the project is about increasing reading for pleasure, because that is what drives long-term literacy improvement – Bloomsbury and NLT share those aims and that’s why we’re working together.
“We want to support schools and teachers in Dundee who are already doing so much hard work to increase children’s reading.
“Being able to offer exciting opportunities like this are a key part of our work and we hope that many more children across the city will be charmed by the magic of reading.”