World Book Day is a registered charity aimed at ensuring every child and young person has a book to call their own.
With the undeniable benefits of reading from a young age, World Book Day is determined to get more young people reading for pleasure and celebrating their favourite stories, authors and illustrators.
The day is the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading that is marked in over 100 countries around the world.
When is World Book Day?
World Book Day will take place on 5th March 2020, and is currently in its 23rd year.
On this day, children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading, in any way they know how. The World Book Day organisation will also provide all students the opportunity to have a book of their own, by sending schools and nurseries packs of Book Tokens and age-ranged resource packs full of ideas, activities, display materials and information on how to get involved.
World Book Day Ideas
If you’re a teacher, TA or parent keen to get involved with World Book Day. take a look at some of these ideas below. We’ve put together some ways you can bring the celebrations into your school or classroom, from dressing up to fun activities to
You can also find further ways to get involved by visiting the World Book Day Resources section.
1. Paint a literacy mural
Many schools like to paint an external wall of their school building with a beautiful mural that celebrates the joy of reading. Murals are perfect for involving the whole class, as the children can work together with a local professional artist or illustrator to design the mural. They can then work together to paint it.
2. Story character bedroom design
Bedrooms reflect a person’s personality – through the colours, decor, bedding, items etc. Ask the students questions about their own bedrooms and how that relates to their personality.
Then ask them to design a bedroom for their favourite book character, using drawings or cutting pictures out of magazines. Ask them to add reasons for their choices in text pop-outs.
This activity could also be done on a computer to encourage digital skills.
3. Create your own mystery
Why not work together as a class or school to create your own murder mystery or ‘whodunit’? The children can have fun coming up with names for the villain(s) that committed the crime and the detective(s) who will solve the mystery.
Go to town creating crime scenes, newspaper articles and ‘Wanted’ posters for your villain. They could then write stories before rounding things off with a performance, where everyone (including the teachers!) get involved.
Alternatively, a teacher could set up a pretend crime scene in somewhere like the school library, and lay out clues for the students to solve the mystery.
4. Skype chat with an author
If there’s a local author you can convince to come into school to give a talk to the children – that’s great! However, if they’re unable to make it or are too far away, then a Skype chat might be the next best thing.
Prepare some questions that the students wish to ask the author, and use a large screen or projector so that everybody can feel part of the conversation.
5. Mystery book pick
One teacher from Kilmarnock wrapped up books in brown paper and wrote a dating ad-style description on the front. Students were asked to choose a book based on the description and weren’t allowed to unwrap the book until they left the library.
Inside each book there was a bookmark for students to fill in a book review, and a winner was chosen from all the bookmarks handed back.
Teachers could use online book reviews to create the ‘dating ad’ descriptions or better yet, use books the children have chosen themselves and use a few words they have written about each one.
6. Story soundtrack
Choose a novel, story or narrative poem that’s fun to read aloud to a group (or use an audio book recording).
Work together as a class to create sound effects for it, using either voices and body noises (clicking, shuffling, stamping, clapping), hand-made items (like dried peas in a can) or random items around the classroom. Then, retell the story using the sound effects!
Another angle for this with older students would be to invite them to put together a musical soundtrack for their favourite novel or poem, if it were a movie.
7. Extreme reading
Ask parents to take photos of their children reading in extreme, funny or unusual places on their smartphone and email them to school to become part of a wall display. Parents can google ‘extreme reading’ for some inspiration (of course be sure not to do anything too dangerous!).
8. Book trailers
Invite students to create a book trailer for their favourite book, as if it were a movie. This can be done individually or in pairs or groups. Students can use simple Power Point presentations or even edit together pieces of video via an editing software tool.
Some students can get really creative by even filming bits of video themselves using a camera or smartphone.
9. Book speed dating
Have students each bring in their favourite book and sit in pairs. Give one member of each pair about a minute to talk about their favourite book to the other person and explain to them why they should read it.
After one minute, have the children swap partners. By the end, every student should have had a chance to promote their book, and will hopefully have found a book they’d like to read!
10. Custom comics
Invite students to make comics and mini-books based on their favourite book, or a book they’ve been studying in class. The finished books can be displayed in either the classroom or hallway, and children can have the chance to read one another’s comics.
Teachers can also give students the opportunity to turn classic literature into comics – from Shakespeare to myths and fables to bible stories!
11. Six-word story competition
Using Ernest Hemingway’s famous six-word story as inspiration, invite students to create their own six word story about anything they choose, or about an unusual object.
The best stories can receive a prize and all of them can become part of a school wall display.
12. School book trail
Hold a book trail for your class by hiding books throughout the school or within the school library. The children start by getting a clue from the librarian, e.g. “A teenage wizard starts his new school in this book.”
Once the children have found that book, there is another clue tucked inside leading them to the next one. Keep going and then have a reward for students that make it to the end.
You could make this a cross-class activity by asking older students to choose the books and write the clues for the younger ones.
13. Door decorating competition
Get each class in the school to decorate their classroom doors as book jackets! This can be great fun and really requires some creativity. The students can work together to decide on a book they like and then decide how to decorate their door, with the teacher’s help.
The best classroom ‘book cover’ gets a prize, of course!
14. Character draw
Put students into pairs. Ask one of them to describe a book character to their partner and the other one to draw what they are describing. The student describing has to give their partner a mark out of 10 on how close the character was to their description.
This can also be done as a class activity, with different students swapping in and out of the drawing and describing roles.
15. #Shelfie competition
Markland Hill, a teacher in Bolton, encouraged all of his students to take a photo of themselves in front of their reading bookcase or collection of books at home. The children could be in the photo if they wanted.
Parents then emailed the photos or shared them with the school Twitter account, and teachers, parents and students alike enjoyed playing guess the shelfie!
The photos can also be used to create a terrific wall display afterwards.
16. Act it out
Tell a story to the whole class, with students reading out parts of the story if age level allows it.
Then, recreate the story using a range of props and materials to set the scene. Assign children as characters and ask them to act out a specific scene in the story, or (if doing this with nursery children) get them to do certain actions such as jumping, walking on the spot, miming climbing etc. to remember different aspects of the story.
You could even add to the feel by using different props to create sound effects if you like.
17. Dinner table mystery
Set up a dinner table display either in the classroom’s reading area, the school hall, the library or anywhere else it can be seen clearly. Get the children to guess which book character is ‘coming to dinner’ based on the props and items on the dinner table.
The display can be changed every day/week to keep students guessing!
World Book Day Costumes
Of course World Book Day also means dressing up as your favourite book character. This is a great activity everybody in the school can get involved in – even teachers!
Still thinking who to dress up as for World Book Day? We’ve listed our favourite World Book Day costume ideas below.
Interesting World Book Day Characters
Below is a list of interesting book characters who would be fun to dress up as or study on World Book Day.
Perhaps you could turn this into a writing or discussion activity, by thinking about the stories this person might have to tell, or coming up with a typical ‘day in the life’. If students do this individually, they can take it in turns to read out their stories to the rest of the class. This activity will encourage students to think about things from an alternative perspective to that of the story’s main character.
- Professor Dumbledore (from Harry Potter)
- Gangsta Granny (from Gangsta Granny)
- Mr. Wormwood or Ms Trunchbull (from Matilda)
- Paddington Bear
- The Mad Hatter (from Alice in Wonderland)
- The BFG (from The BFG)
- Mary Poppins
- Tinkerbell (from Peter Pan)
- Charlotte (from Charlotte’s Web)
- Dr. John Watson (from the Sherlock Holmes series).
If you’re looking for some more reading inspiration, be sure to check out our list of 14 children’s books that teach life-changing lessons.