Reading Competition 2020
Undeterred by the restrictions of the pandemic, the children in our Prep School enjoyed a virtual Reading Competition this year. For the very first time, our finalists included children from Year 3, in addition to those in Year 4-8. Our virtual audience were entertained by readings from an array of texts, with alternating year groups delivering poetry and prose.
Setting the standard were our Year 8 children who chilled the mind as well as the spine with haunting readings from ‘The Woman in Black’ by Susan Hill. This excellent ghost story forms part of the Key Stage 3 English curriculum at Mowden and is recommended for able readers aged 11 and above.
Following in their footsteps were our finalists in Year 7 who recited poetry on the theme of childhood, ranging from ‘First Day at School’ by Roger McGough (a poem that explores the innocence and curiosity of being a child) to ‘My Parents’ by Stephen Spender, which addresses the theme of bullying.
The Year 6 readers entertained us with extracts from 'Once', the first in a beautifully written series of books by Maurice Gleitzman. Skillfully, the children evoked Felix's experiences of hiding in an orphanage, before he escapes to seek his Jewish parents. Year 5 then read aloud the narrative poem, 'The Ride of Paul Revere', written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. They thundered through his adventurous and daring ride across the country, conveying the sense of urgency he must have felt.
Last, but by no means least, it was the turn of our youngest readers to take to the virtual stage and their poise and confidence was a sight to behold. Anyone who has listened to poetry and prose being read aloud knows that the impact can be more powerful than when texts are read silently in one’s head. This was very much the case when our Year 3 and Year 4 children entertained us with ‘The Story of Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds’, a Greek myth by Kris Waldherr, as well as readings from The Fish Lizard of Lyme by Carolyn King.
In a break from tradition this year, the English Department formed the judging panel. Although several heads are deemed to be better than one, our task was no less daunting. That said, tough decisions were made and Mrs Martin announced the long-awaited results during her Monday morning assembly.
Our warmest congratulations go to all of the finalists and, of course, to all of the children in the Prep School who auditioned for a place in this year’s final. Reading is not seen as a chore or a duty at Mowden, it is viewed as a gift, something to be treasured.
For more photos of the competition please click below.