I have always loved mystery stories, in particular Sherlock Holmes, so I read Antony Horowitz and Ann Cleeves. I also like a bit of fantasy and have read the whole Harry Potter series, Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights and Terry Pratchet’s Discworld series. Often my sons tell me about books that they have enjoyed and I have recently read Cogheart, Skellig and Holes on their recommendation, although my favourite children’s author is Michael Morpurgo - I can’t believe that Kensuke’s Kingdom has not been made into a film.
In 1986 Rik Mayall read George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl for Jackanory. I was 8 years old and I was hooked. I watched silently, in awe of the mischief making George and totally transfixed by Rik Mayall's storyteller voices- most memorably the evil Grandma. I couldn't wait for the next episode to transport me to the magical world Roald Dahl had created and I still have my original copy which I read over and over and over again. Fast forward 34 years and I have just read that copy to my own children.
I have always loved the way books can transport you to another world and love nothing more than finding a good series, usually magical fantasy lands. From CS Lewis'classic The Chronicles of Narnia, to the modern classic of Harry Potter (I'm Hufflepuff, my wand is Rowan Wood with a Dragon Heartstring 13", reasonably supple, and my patronus is a Piebald Stallion- check out Harry Potter Wizarding World to be officially sorted)
I adore the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I have two daughters and want them to be as caring, astute and fearless as Katniss. As I've grown up, my interest in magical worlds has broadened to include the imagined dystopian futures and I have thoroughly enjoyed Margaret Attwood's dark, dystopian Handmaid's Tale and more recently her Booker Prize winning, The Testaments- a highly recommended read for adults.
My favourite book is Matilda by Roald Dahl. I must've read it dozens of times, sometimes finishing it, then starting it all over again straight away! I always wanted to be like the kind teacher, Miss Honey who saw the best in all children and valued each individual's characteristics and qualities. This book is why I became a teacher really. I do love most Roald Dahl books as the stories are all great as well as the illustrations by Quentin Blake-but in my opinion Matilda is the best!
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” - Frederick Douglass
Books have been my loyal and lifelong companions. Some of my earliest and most
treasured memories are of mornings spent with my Nanny, immersed in story worlds within the children's section of our local library. Once I could read independently, I lost myself in books and my parents forgot what I looked like for about a decade, while I devoured anything written by Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Jacqueline Wilson. 'Walk Two Moons' by Sharon Creech was my favourite young novel of the time, along with 90's classics like 'The Babysitter's Club' series
Nowadays, reading for pleasure usually takes the form of cuddling up with my young daughters to share their favourite stories. When daily life is hectic and intense, those
moments of peace, togetherness and laughter remind me of how important reading and sharing stories is. My children adore Julia Donaldson for her vivid characters and rhyming refrains, Dr Seuss for his silliness and the comforting familiarity of
traditional tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs.
Reading gives us the freedom to continue to learn and develop in any way we choose. I enjoy a lot of non-fiction and am partial to a flick through an atlas!
Although I might not have the time to lose to a book quite as often now, they are always there and ready for all of us when we need them.
Currently on Maternity Leave
As a Mum of young children, most of my reading concerns calamitous orange dragons and foolish beasts with poisonous warts and purple prickles. Yes- we are big fans of Julia Donaldson in my house! I love sharing stories which stir the imagination, evoke a sense of adventure and conjure vivid images, both at home and at school.
When I was a child, I enjoyed reading ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ as it transported me to a mythical land where anything could happen. As a teenager, my love of fantasy grew and I devoured ‘The Lord of Rings’ trilogy within weeks of getting them for my birthday. Although it takes me a lot longer to journey to Mordor these days, I still love diving into these stories!
Ash Class Higher Level Teaching Assistant and Parent Support Advisor
During my childhood I remember my year 1 teacher Mrs Harrison reading many stories that influenced the books I chose to read. We would walk through the magical doors of the wardrobe and end up in Narnia, explore Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and meet the Oompa Loompas. But my personal favourite was imagining I was flying on a magic carpet with Mr Majeka. Mr Majeka was a teacher but no ordinary teacher he knew magic.
As a Mum I have shared these books and many more with my children. You can go on many adventures and the stories we read uplift us and can create a happy place.
But as an adult If I can’t find a story that can take me on an adventure, I enjoy reading books about mindfulness and well being.
Ash Class Teaching Assistant
I love to read and have always read to my children. Jacqueline Wilson and the Mr Men/Little Miss series are firm favourites at home.
As a child I loved to read the legends of King Arthur and the Chronicles of Narnia. I have really fond memories of reading late into the night with my Dad about Lancelot’s dangerous quests and Aslan battling the White Witch.
As a teenager I really enjoyed reading The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4. I found it intensely funny, a totally different type of read for me, and Sue Townsends portrayal of an awkward, love sick 14yr old made me feel a whole lot better about being an awkward and probably love sick 14yr old!!
These days, apart from being a total Harry Potter nerd, I am a big fan of all things dystopian. Stone cold classics like 1984 and Brave New World as well as younger read stories like the Hunger Games and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station 11 are go-to reads for me. Anything with a bit of real revolution! Reading allows me to go anywhere and imagine worlds - I love it.
Beech Class Teaching Assistant
I’ve always been a big fan of action and from an early age I’ve been a massive fan of the Spiderman and most other marvel comics. I just loved to imagine being a superhero and saving people from notorious supervillains. This is where I gained my love of reading, although I was more obsessed with the artwork and the moral story behind each hero’s adventure. Comics made up the majority of my reading catalogue as a child but, as an adult my reading list tends to include a lot more non-fiction books. I try to read whenever a have a spare moment and enjoy learning facts about nature and our world. I love to read books about space, science, history, biology and books about different languages, French is a particular favourite.
With my family at home, we always have a good novel on the go, currently we are reading Tom Fletcher’s most recent book The Danger Gang. Some books that I have enjoyed reading at home are David Walliams’ The Ice Monster, The Beast of Buckingham Palace and Ratburger, Tom Fletcher’s Christmasaurus and its sequel, and multiple Roald Dahl books. I also enjoy reading any short story by Julia Donaldson and I love reading my youngest sons favourite Christopher Nibble.
In school I love to really love choosing an appropriate class reader and relish sharing a story as a class. I try to provide as many opportunities as possible for sharing reading and reading for pleasure within the school day. I feel the benefits of reading go beyond getting to experience action packed adventures, journeying to another world, experiencing a different age or imagining being someone else. It enriches your life experiences and grants access to other people’s lives and perspectives, whether fictional or non-fictional and I feel there is true value in this.
Sycamore Class Higher Level Teaching Assistant
I’ve always loved reading even from a young age. Even before I started school I was desperately trying to read the back of my dad’s newspaper! There is nothing like settling down to a good book which allows me to transport myself to another world and escape from my troubles.
Books have so many fond memories for me too. I still have my original copies of Beatrix Potter stories that I used to love reading to my mum and as I got older we would happily re-read Enid Blyton stories, particularly The Magic Faraway Tree collection.
The book that has a special place in my heart though is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I remember when it came out and I read it for the first time at primary school. All I desperately wanted was to receive my own letter from Hogwarts and I still secretly hope it will happen to this very day! From that day on my mum used to pre-order each Harry Potter book as it was released and we would get up early and queue outside the shop to buy it on release day. There was so much excitement and joy in our house and sometimes we would even buy two copies so that two people in our house could read it at the same time without having to wait for someone to finish. Even now both my sister and I make sure we always have a copy of each of the Harry Potter books in the house and regularly go back and re-read them. It is the one book that guarantees to cheer me up and make me feel better due to the fond memories and magical, intricate storytelling.
Sycamore Class One to One Teaching Assistant
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the same era as the Harry Potter books were being released. To have something so magical to read every night kept me hooked. As the series grew so did I.
The characters and the surroundings became so familiar to me, and when the films came along it was stunning to see it all come to life! Through my teenage years I became interested in the ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ books. With their alliterative titles and more gloomy storytelling it was certainly a big change from the magic of Harry Potter! I worked my way through all 13 books, completely hooked on the Baudelaire’s adventures, and whether they would ever be safe from the vicious Count Olaf! My reading nowadays is limited to mainly Stephen King Novels. He certainly knows how to keep a reader in suspense. Isn’t that the sign of a perfect author? I’d recommend any of the books I’ve mentioned, although maybe reading Stephen King with your children might have to wait until they’re old enough!!
My first memories of really enjoying reading are from when I was about 8 years old and I discovered the 'Fighting Fantasy' books which were a series of stories where you got to decide what happened next by turning to different pages when you made a decision. You also got to fight monsters so it was utterly brilliant! Nowadays I read every single day and love a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, written stories and graphic novels. My favourite author has always been Stephen King who used to write scary stories but in recent years has changed to writing about lots of different subjects. I love how he makes you feel that you have entered a new world for a while and are really invested in new characters.
Oak Class Teaching Assistant
As a child, I was usually found with my head in a 'Famous five' book. I loved their sense of adventure and perpetual youth. I was particularly full of admiration for George's bravery, loyalty and determination. I was also rather envious of her private island...
So I cut my hair very short (like George) and every summer I packed our bags and dragged my somewhat reluctant siblings and Bella (our elderly American cocker spaniel) out looking for adventures of our own - usually imagining that our innocent neighbours were in the midst of some sort of smuggling ring, searching for clues, and leaving codes to each other about them with invisible ink (lemon juice) just like in the stories.
With hindsight, short hair didn't suit me, and poor Bella really didn't have Timmy's energy (nor his intelligence). Futhermore, my mother couldn't find any local islands (with a secret underground tunnel to the mainland) for sale within our price range. However, I will never forget the way those books inspired my imagination and the excitement and the escapism they brought me. They have ignited a love of reading. I find it fascinating that a book can transport you back into the greatest minds in history. Since my famous five days I have been on many other adventures; from exploring the Galapagos islands on the HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin, to travelling to Hogwarts with Harry and all the gang, and everywhere in between!
"If you don't like to read, you haven't found the right book" - JK Rowling
My love of reading started, well, as soon as I could read. I love turning the television off, having a cuppa and the odd biscuit, curling up on the sofa and immersing myself into a good book. In fact, any chance I have, I whip out my current book, be it while waiting in the doctors surgery or while I’m eating my breakfast and disappear into whatever world I’m adventuring in (my tastes are eclectic – it could be anything from a Terry Pratchett science fiction book or a Maeve Binchy Irish love/family story.
When I was young I loved Enid Blyton's Malory Towers series and The Hobbit still holds a very dear place in my heart, so much so I named my Jack Russell dog after a character from the Hobbit, Bilbo’s dad - Bungo who had a mother called Laura Grubb – very apt I thought – although most people call him Bongo or Bingo, much to my chagrin.
PE Teaching Assistant
My favourite books to read have always been the Harry Potter books (especially the later books), and these were the books that really made me enjoy reading. Other books I have also really enjoyed reading are the Hunger Games and Noughts and Crosses. Growing up I saw characters such as Hermione Granger and Katniss as really good role models. As I have got older I have enjoyed reading even more so, as I love that it draws you in and creates another world.
Oak Class One to One Teaching Assistant