Hampshire authors help Portsmouth High School children learn during lockdown

CHILDREN from Portsmouth High School were able to momentarily escape the restrictions of lockdown through the power of reading after being joined via Zoom by a local author.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 5:07 pm
Clanfield based author John Bannell joined children from Portsmouth High School via Zoom to read his book Mister Toad's Great Escape.

Through the power of imagination author John Bannell was able transport children to a world in which wildlife comes alive as he read pre-school and reception classes extracts from his book Mister Toad’s Great Escape.

Reading the story from his Clanfield home, the children were entranced by the tale of the adventurous amphibian as he looks to escape after becoming trapped in a bag of weeds cleared from the garden in which he lives and being taken to the local refuse tip.

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John, who has also penned the Freddie the Mischievous Fox stories, commented: ‘It was a pleasure to read Mister Toad’s Great Escape over Zoom. I am delighted that the children in school and at home enjoyed it.’

After the link to the session was shared by the school on social media, other families in the community with children working remotely were able to log in and enjoy the story.

Portsmouth High School’s pre-prep school headteacher Fabre De La Grange commented: ‘Reading with children benefits their educational development and well-being and encourages a love of reading for life. It promotes a growing range of new vocabulary and helps support developing language and communication skills.’

John is the first in a series of local authors enlisted to harness the power of the internet to help bring stories alive into pupils’ homes.

Later this week Portsmouth based author Neal Layton will be reading his book The Tree to children at the school which will be followed by the story of Cyril Squirrel by fellow local author Matthew Scott. The sessions will once again be made available for children in the wider community to enjoy.

Prep School headteacher Paul Marshallsay said: ‘It is incredibly exciting for the children to have guest storytellers. For them to be the authors of the books adds an extra layer to the experience and works in great assistance to their continual love of reading.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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