This week we were delighted to be invited to Bamford academy in Rochdale to introduce the children to Monty and his stories. Since being privileged to be able to call myself an author we have made numerous visits to schools all around the country and have certainly had some very positive experiences.
I always said from the start that our visits would be free. This gives us an opportunity to bring our stories to as wide an audience as possible, plus it's not just about those that can pay the most get the most.
I don't think there is any debate about the value of children enjoying books, nor is there much disagreement that encouraging reading outside of school is a real challenge. We have had some fabulous feedback from schools that we have visited where Monty has had such a positive impact on the children, that they have developed a real thirst for reading and writing stories.
We see what we do as a support for some of the amazing work that goes on daily within our schools and it is very much a partnership that hopefully builds on this. To this end we are totally dependent on the staff getting behind our visits and really making it something special that hopefully has a lasting effect.
Our visit to Bamford was a great example of this and it makes such an enjoyable occasion for all concerned. We started by doing a whole school assembly where the children (and staff) had the chance to ask lots of questions about Monty, or being an author, but as usual mainly about Monty. The school set the assembly up so that we made our entrance once all the children were in and this gave Monty a great opportunity to give some newfydoof kisses along our way to the front of the hall. This was met with squeals of excitement and this atmosphere of fun lasted throughout the assembly. Monty added his mark to it by loudly sneezing right in the middle of the prayer and knocking the screens over, twice. What do they say about working with children and animals?
After assembly was finished the children came back in class by class to hear I'm not a Pandacow and Monty and friends save Christmas. More questions followed, as was the opportunity for those who wanted to get up close and personal with the big lad and he was his usual patient and gentle self.
Part way through the morning Monty was presented with some treats which I quickly managed to stuff in my bag before he became too interested. By lunchtime however he was getting the dinner smell in his nostrils and the final challenge was getting him through the dining area in a straight line.
That was it for our visit but this is where the school's efforts are so crucial because straight away the visit was put onto their social media sites. Letters were also sent to parents to inform them that children were able to purchase a personalised signed copy of the book. When you have great staff wanting to build on the visit and encourage children to enjoy reading then it make our visits totally worth it.
Thank you Bamford Academy for your welcome. Great staff and wonderful children. A really lovely school visit for us.
If you'd like more info on our free school visits see our page on this website or email firstname.lastname@example.org