Longwood Primary School – Whole School Reading Project

“There will be no wellies, soggy shoes and spare glue sticks stored in here but a proper reading space.” Vanessa Ranch

We were first put in touch with Longwood Primary School in the summer of 2023. After the first conversation with Vanessa Ranch, the school’s reading lead, we knew we’d found our next Whole School Reading Project. Longwood is in Tamworth, a small town just outside Birmingham. There is little opportunity for the children at the school to experience the world beyond their town’s borders and many don’t go on holiday or abroad and school trips are few and far between.

At Longwood we value the importance of reading and how it provides opportunities for all to explore a wealth of opportunities with each turn of a page…with a lot of imagination prompted with a good book the world truly is your oyster. 

Vanessa wanted books to be the answer to this – to give the children the chance to escape to the jungle or space or back in time without moving their feet.

Together with Peters, we helped created a brand new KS1 library where the children could let their imaginations run free.


This moment will be forever etched in our hearts as one of the greatest opportunities we have ever known.

All of our projects have the same aim, to help cultivate and foster and reading for pleasure environment wherever we go.

With the Whole School Reading Project we tend to start small and end with a library space or large scale project of some sort.


By the end of November 2023, the brand new library space was completed and the shelves fully stacked. We carefully selected each and every book that went into the library. We asked the pupils and staff what books they wanted to see on the shelves and the replies we got ranged from insect books to crocodiles and outer space.

Our friends at the Daily Express covered the grand opening which included a ribbon cutting from the Mayor (an ex pupil of Longwood), a reading by Farhana Islam from her debut picture book Not Now Noor! and a flawlessly synchronised Christmas performance from the year 5s and 6s.

We feel reading opens the door to all education,” says headteacher Pauline James. “So I’m speechless about this project. I just want to say thank you for this amazing opportunity for the children.

We hit the ground running in the new year and were back in Tamworth after only a few weeks into 2024, only this time we were joined by illustrator Dorien Brouwers.

During our year working with Longwood Primary, we wanted to reach all year groups. Picture Book Club was the perfect way for the older pupils to create a buzz around reading for the younger pupils.

The Year 5’s are enjoying picture books so much and the Y2s are really engaged as they’re being a read a book that they can comprehend a lot better.

Picture Book Club provides all the materials you need to run a peer led book club in a primary school. It involves Y5s leading small book clubs for Y1s. We provided a box of 15 picture books, carefully selected to give a diverse range of authors and styles. There is a simple training session planned for teachers to deliver to the older children selected to lead the book clubs. Once the Y5s familiarised themselves with the books and felt confident about reading them aloud, they are then partnered with a small group of Y1s and read them a book and lead a short group discussion about the story and the pictures.

We’ve got one final project in the wings for the year 5s and 6s at Longwood, stay tuned to find out what it is…


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