English-linked school trip ideas: Inspiring a love of reading

Date Posted: 22/07/2015

Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, has reopened following a £750,000 refurbishment. We explore what’s new, and get a few reading tips from the staff.

The Newcastle-based Seven Stories centre now features new exhibitions and attractions, all aimed at encouraging children and young people to develop a love of reading for pleasure, books and ideas.

The centre has always been open for school trips for Early Years to Key Stage 3. Now there’s even more for students to discover on a visit.

New exhibitions at Seven Stories

As part of the redevelopment, three new exhibitions have been curated.

Painting with Rainbows – A Michael Foreman Exhibition explores the story-telling of multi award-winning author Michael Foreman.

Props and costumes are available to allow visitors to explore the concept of a world without conflict, as well as themes of friendship and environment.

Pupils can find out more about the way literature has been used to portray war and peace. And they can take advantage of a multi-sensory environment to gain an understanding of the author’s creative processes.

In Rhyme Around the World – A Nursery Rhyme Exhibition visitors will learn about nursery rhymes from around the world and discover how stories, songs and rhymes play a role in early language development.

A Bear Called Paddington, meanwhile, shows visitors how Michael’s Bonds marmalade-loving bear was brought to life through illustration and animation.

New discovery areas at Seven Stories

There is also a selection of new discovery areas at Seven Stories. On level one, there’s a practical area called the Studio and World Lab, where visitors can draw, paint, and write.

On level four, a new Story Station attraction is a place for Early Years aged children to participate in sensory play using sensory boxes, textures and sounds.

Finally, the Attic on level seven, has been designed as a place where stories come to life. When the new term starts in September, this area will have been transformed in Daigon Alley from Harry Potter Fame.

This theme has been created to celebrate Jim Kay’s full colour illustrations for J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Tips for reading

Working at Seven Stories every day means that the centre’s staff have an insider’s knowledge of the books on display and in the centre’s archive of more than 200 British stories and illustrations.

Here are a few of their tips for the best books to the inspire children to develop a love of reading for pleasure.

Gill Rennie, senior curator

Book: A Child’s Garden of Verse by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Reason: I can remember my mum reading it to me when I was young and it always used to spark my imagination.

Alison Gwynn, programme director

Book: Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg & Janet Ahlberg.

Reason: This is the book that all three of my children have loved. We enjoyed spotting all of the characters in Janet’s stunning illustrations.

Kate Edwards, chief executive

Book: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Reason: It is the perfect picture book with exquisite illustrations – but if I am allowed to pick two, I would have to say The Hobbit. I remember reading it and just being transported to another world, I particularly loved the Riddles in the Dark chapter. My son has read it and had the same immersion in the story.

To find out more about Seven Stories visit www.sevenstories.org.uk.


School Travel Organiser's Guide