Oliver Barbour (Y6) has been sharing his love for books and reading in a most wonderful way for his ‘Make an Impact’ activity.

During lockdown, Oliver found that he struggled to find good books in genres that he enjoyed. However, rather than being disheartened, he saw this as an opportunity. Using his vast collection of books at home, he decided to lend and recommend books to younger children, and ‘Oliver’s Lending Library’ was born. 

To help him find out what books his younger friends and friends of the family might enjoy, Oliver created an online form for them to complete. He then provided them with a carefully curated list of recommended books and advised them if he had any of the books himself. Those books he could lend were carefully wrapped and posted, along with a literary quote for the reader to enjoy.

“Thank you for letting me borrow some of your books that is very kind of you. I like the sound of the Magic Treehouse because I like time travelling. I’m going to use my vouchers for these. I also like Mr Penguin because he eats fish finger sandwiches – that part of your email made me laugh.”

Connor H.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Oliver then set about recording Loom videos reading aloud young children’s picture books that he sent to friends with younger siblings. These videos, planned initially as bedtime stories, proved so popular that they were sent on to friends of friends, and Oliver received some great feedback. His video even inspired one boy to dress up as a story character and record his own video. As he grew in confidence, Oliver started to add a question to the end of his films to encourage his young audience to think about what happened in the stories and improve their comprehension.

As a result of the popularity of his videos, Oliver decided to share them even more widely, contacting his old school, Kempston Rural Primary School, to see if they would be of help to them. The Headmistress, Mrs Stanbridge, was delighted to hear from Oliver and praised him on his initiative and reading skills and, most importantly, shared his stories with their Reception and Year 1 classes. The school also posted the stories on their school website for World Book Day —and they were a hit! Oliver even created some special videos for them by reading stories on the Arctic and transport to support their class topics. 

The work and care that Oliver has put into his initiative is awe-inspiring and perfectly embodies the aim of our ‘Make an Impact’ challenge. He has most definitely helped to positively impact people’s lives during lockdown and, hopefully, encouraged even more children to develop a love of stories and reading. But don’t just take our word for it:

“Thank you very much for sharing the stories for World Book Day. You read the story beautifully and the children who were at school very much enjoyed listening to you read.”

Mrs Dutta, Kempston Rural Primary

“So Keira just watched Oliver’s video and just adored it!! I had to prise it away from her so she’d sleep. He’s a wonder! So good. Can I share it with her friends?”

Joanna (Keira’s mum).

“The boys have loved the stories you’ve been reading – they’ve watched ‘Stuck’ many times already! James has written a message below (it took a while as he’s not used to texting :)).”

Jen (James & Ollie’s mum)

“Thank you for the lovely books you’ve read. They are funny books and I love the way you expressed the exclamation marks. Thank you.”

James S 
If you would like to listen to Oliver reading a couple of the stories, please follow the links below.
Stuck – a story about a boy who gets his kite stuck in a tree.

The Giant Jam Sandwich One hot summer in Itching Down, four million wasps flew into town…
The inhabitants hatch a cunning plan to remove the wasps from their town.

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