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Panto treat for young readers

Book-loving primary school pupils got a special festive treat last week when they were visited by ‘theatrical royalty’.

Georgia Rowland-Elliott in her Princess Jasmine costume with young readers at Parkside Community Primary School (23149450)
Georgia Rowland-Elliott in her Princess Jasmine costume with young readers at Parkside Community Primary School (23149450)

Princess Jasmine, AKA Panto star Georgia Rowland-Elliott, visited Parkside Community Primary School in Canterbury and Westmeads Community Infant School in Whitstable on Monday, November 25.

Ms Rowland-Elliott was dressed in the dazzling costume she will wear in the Theatre Royal Margate’s production of Aladdin this Christmas, and read to the children a version of the famous tale from The Thousand and One Nights.

The story-time sessions were a reward for the children’s impressive performance with reading-reward scheme Buster’s Book Club.

Speaking after her visit to Parkside Community Primary School, Ms Rowland-Elliott said: “I’ve had such a fantastic afternoon here. It was so amazing to hear all of the children’s favourite stories, and I hope that I can see them again very, very soon.”

Parkside head teacher Anthea McLevy said: “It’s been such a pleasure. The children have really enjoyed it, and it’s helped enhance the development of reading, which is a massive focus within the whole school.”

And Buster’s Book Club coordinator Kay Devine said: “What a magical prize this was for the children of these two schools. We are so grateful to Georgia, who had the pupils of both schools wrapped around her finger.

“Story-time sessions like these are so popular with our Buster’s Book Club schools, and have a real ability to stimulate children’s engagement with reading.

“So I would urge other primaries to sign up to the initiative now, and their pupils could be enjoying similar visits soon.”

Buster’s Book Club uses a spirit of friendly competition to make books cool, and encourages children to read more at home.

Individual schools’ classes compete against each other, with a weekly trophy awarded to the one demonstrating the most application or improved performance.

And the winners of monthly inter-school challenges involving schools across Kent are rewarded with tickets to leisure attractions or visits by celebrity storytellers.

The club is supported by the Education People, Golding Vision, Specsavers, Leeds Castle, Diggerland, Hornby, Wildwood, Rotary, Acorns Read and Grow, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Buckland Media and Medway and Kent councils.

For more information, visit www.bustersbookclub.co.uk.

Aladdin runs at the Theatre Royal from December 7 until December 29.

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