How to… celebrate World Book Day

World Book Day is almost here! This much-loved day in the school year is one to have lots of fun on, from dressing up as book characters to revisiting our favourite books. It’s a day to focus on books and reading and hopefully build up enough of a head of steam to keep that love of books going until the next World Book Day. To get you going on that journey to loving reading, we’ve put together some fun ideas for the day – and after, which we think will really make every day of the year a World Book Day

Activity One – I’ve Just Read a Really Good Book

Suitable for Years 1 to 6

Learning Objectives:

  • To be able to summarise what you read
  • To identify books from their summary
  • To be able to present information orally with a regard for audience

This makes a really good game to play to introduce World Book Day but also another good way to round it off! Ask the pupils to sit in a circle and choose someone to start. They begin by saying ‘I’ve just read a really good book’ and go on to describe what happened in it, who the characters were and where the story took place. The rest of the circle need to listen carefully and as soon as they know the book, they put up their hand. If they’re correct they have a go. To ensure everyone has a go, you could simply go round the circle and perhaps divide the circle into teams and collect points for each for how many they guess correctly. At the end of World Book Day, the pupils will have read more books and can honestly say ‘I’ve just read a really good book’.



Activity Two – Books For All

Suitable for Years 2 to 6

Learning Objectives:

  • To be able to recognise that some people do not have access to books and so they struggle to read
  •  To share the love of reading with others across the world

We’re very lucky having access to plenty of reading material for all ages but there are many countries in the world where the children don’t have access to reading books and where many don’t have enough light to be able to read the ones they have.

We were moved by the story of a little girl in Malawi who was asked what her most precious belonging was. She said it was her copy of a Lucy Daniels book, Pony on the Porch, which she’d been given by a young tourist many years before. At first she couldn’t read it, but now, several years on, she’d read it so many times she could recite most of it and still the story excited her. Now imagine if we could do that hundreds or maybe thousands of times over?

Organise a collection of unwanted fiction and non-fiction children’s books at school and then ship them via an African aid charity to countries in Africa. If you want to take it one step further, you could fundraise on World Book Day and provide wind up electric lanterns so the children can read when it gets dark.

Activity Three – Reading Out Loud

Suitable for Years 3 to 6

Learning Objectives:

  • To develop tone in voices from ‘reading ahead’
  • To gain confidence in reading aloud to others instead of just for others

In these days of ‘on demand entertainment’, it’s no wonder that reading or listening to someone read has lost a little of its appeal. The best way to bring this back is to add back the excitement of books and stories through developing reading aloud skills. This is more difficult than it may at first seem but easy to see why when we listen to a developing reader read. A variety of skills are necessary; from recognising the genre of the book to being able to ‘read ahead’ to know what’s coming next and how the reading should be intoned.

You could begin by reading part of a book to the pupils, asking them to listen carefully for where you vary your voice and see if they can say why. If you want to spend more time controlling the exercise rather than being part of it, you could use one of the BBC Jackanory Junior episodes available on YouTube. Or alternatively, use a resource from Treasure House – Collins online literacy toolkit. Inside Treasure House you’ll find The Reading Attic which contains audio extracts from much loved children’s books including Mr Stink by David Walliams. 


Treasure House, Collins' online literacy toolkit.
Treasure House, Collins’ online literacy toolkit.

After reading to them, showing them an episode of Jackanory or listening to an audio extract from The Reading Attic, ask them what they felt whilst listening to the reader. You should find that the voice of the reader brought them into the story, effectively hooking them.

Ask the pupils if they know what the clues are to how a passage should be read.

The main clues are;

  • Looking at the genre of the book to begin with
  • The title of the chapter if there is one.
  • Scanning the first paragraph to get a feel for the story
  • Identifying the verbs for an idea of how the sentence is to be read
  • Considering punctuation for clues

Ask for volunteers to read the following sentences:

  1. “Did you see that?” she whispered.
  2. “How dare you talk to me that way!” he snarled
  • “I thought you loved me. After all we’ve been through together, this is the last thing I expected you to say.” she sobbed.
  1. “Why do you think he went left when I told him to turn right?” she puzzled.

Now practise by asking the pupils to read a paragraph from their reading book. Give them five minutes to read it to themselves and to identify the clues that told them how it should be read. After reading it, ask them to explain the clues to the class. Finally, finish off with pupils taking it in turn to read from an unfamiliar book and ask the class to think if the tone is correct. A follow up piece of writing for this could be for them to tell you who they would like to read a story too. They should include why the book would be suitable for that person and why they have chosen them.

Activity Four – Reading Corners of the World

Suitable for Years 1 to 6

Learning Objective:

  • To be able to describe where they prefer to read and explain why
  • To be able to imagine reading in another place and describe the experience

Most of us have a favourite place where we like to read, it might be in bed, in a favourite chair or even in a sunny part of the garden. Where we read is as important to our involvement in a book as what we read. No wonder children love bedtime stories! In this activity, the pupils should be asked to say where their favourite place to read is and to tell the rest of the class why. How does it impact on their involvement and enjoyment of a book? Do they read different books in different places?

Where's your favourite place to read?
Where’s your favourite place to read?

Now, plan a wall display as a map of favourite reading places, inside and outside. Ask the pupils to illustrate them reading in their favourite location and add it to the map. Now, as a piece of creative writing, ask them to think about where would be their ideal reading corner; it could be real or imaginary, and anywhere in the world, or even the universe. They need to tell you why they would want to read there and what benefits the place bestows on their reading. The writing (plus illustrations) could be the content for another World Book Day display.


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