A visit from the author was also arranged to celebrate the success of this initiative and continue to encourage the students to read for pleasure.
During the visit, sci-fi and fantasy author, Ross Welford spoke to students in Year 7 and 8 about his books and what inspires him.
As part of Ross’ speech, he got the students engaged and imaginations thriving by demonstrating how ‘science and magic can cross over.’ Alex Coonan (Y8) volunteered to help Ross demonstrate a science experiment as he played ‘Mad Scientist, Professor Alex’.
Ross went on to discuss the inspiration behind the character of Alfie, an 11-year-old boy who never grows up due to a magical elixir. Furthermore, he spoke to the students about how his own inspirations came from classical literature, such as Peter Pan and Noah’s Ark. In addition, he went on to describe to students how many of his books are inspired by his own interest in time travelling, such as Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.
As part of the visit, Ross signed and completed personal dedications for many of the students. Madison Gough (Y7) is a superfan of the author and presented him with a letter. She said: “I love reading. It’s one of my favourite things to do.” When asked which story was her favourite, she added: “I don’t think I can pick a favourite. I have loved what I have read so far and am excited to start the rest.”
Madison Gough (Y7) with Ross Welford
A selected group of students then took part in a writing workshop with Ross. The budding writers and enthusiastic readers from Year 7 and 8 were taught ‘How to write an awesome opening’. Ross commented that “if an opening is no good, you won’t ever know if the rest of the story was worth it because you simply won’t read on.”
English Curriculum leader, Catherine Brett said: “Students were mesmerised by Ross Welford’s creative and magical approach to writing. There is no doubt his visit today and the chance to have their own signed dedication by a bestselling author will have inspired many of our students to pick up their books and get reading.”
Louth Academy Principal, Philip Dickinson, said: “We know the impact that reading will have on academic success, which is why it’s at the heart of the curriculum at Louth Academy. By providing each student with their own copy of a novel we are actively encouraging reading for pleasure and we have seen significant improvements in engagement since starting this initiative.”