WORLD Book Day gripped the imaginations of schools in east Wiltshire with parents, teachers and children working on fancy dress costumes for the big day last Thursday (March 7).

In Preshute it was decided to move the dress-up day to Friday, with an exceptional turnout of characters arriving from the pages of books both fact and fiction for lessons.

Teacher Meredith Craven said the school had shown great creativity in the costumes but the most important thing was to encourage children to read.

The UNESCO designated event has grown over the years and has become a fixture in many school calendars promoting as it does reading, literacy and of course books.

Gazette reporter Sarah Singleton visited St John’s Academy in Marlborough as part of their World Book Day programme, organised by learning resource manager Anne Stokes and her colleagues in the school library.

Sarah joined a Talking Books session in the school library, where she and other visitors met small groups of pupils to tell the story of their writing career, and answer students’s questions.

Afterwards, she led a creative writing session for children in Year 8, using the opening scene of her novel Century as a starting point to explore ways to create stories using images, as well as getting started on writing. The school had lots of activities in place, such as creative classroom door displays based on book covers.

Sarah said: “It was fantastic to see how much books and reading are celebrated in the school. I enjoyed discussing favourite books with pupils and hearing about the novels and non-fiction they recommended.”

In Lockeridge Kennet Valley School’s Sarah Byford wrapped up books and labelled them with information so the pupils had to discover the contents by reading them. Head Emma Russell said “I think it was a very valuable exercise, as Our pupils now realise that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and many have agreed they are going to be far more adventurous choosing books in the future.”