Essendine Primary School: Maida Vale school opens 'reading den'
PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 June 2019
Maida Vale's Essendine Primary School welcomed the new lord mayor of Westminster, local councillors and a children's author to open a special addition to its facilities - a reading 'den'.
The new space is designed to be somewhere pupils can go for short periods to enjoy reading on their own.
Cllr Ruth Bush, (Lab, Harrow Road) is the first ever Labour lord mayor of the borough, and one of her first engagements in post was to give her seal approval to this project.
The reading den was the brainchild of deputy headteacher Lisa Mafrica. Along with the lead English teacher at the school Graeme Schofield, she attended a conference on reading for pleasure and was determined to give her pupils the perfect space to do just that.
Lisa told this newspaper: "Research shows that reading for enjoyment is so important for children. It is also proven to help them in their attainment across all subjects.
"This room will make sure children are free to choose a quality book to read at leisure."
Graeme added: "There are lots of studies about the importance to kids of reading, it's going to be a great space."
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Award-winning author Ross Montgomery - who's wowed children with titles such as The Tornado Chasers - also attended, holding a Q&A session and book reading with 18 pupils to inaugurate the reading room.
Originally an unused cloakroom, the reading den has been redesigned as a cosy and relaxing space where children can go to read for enjoyment, away from the classroom.
Local councillors designated some of the ward-level funding available to help complete the scheme.
Cllr Bush said: "This is a great collaboration between school and local councillors for such a lovely project."
There was a big thumbs up from the pupils at the Essendine Road school, too.
One, Yasmine, a reading ambassador there, said: "All of the pupils are really excited to start using it, and to read all of the new books."
Beyond simply being used as a break-out space for pupils, the school - a two-form entry primary school with around 400 pupils between the ages of four and 11 - hopes to begin using the reading den to hold book groups for children and parents.