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Peterborough school chosen to celebrate Harry Potter's 25 magical years

This year marks 25 years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Peterborough Reads has partnered with Bloomsbury publishers to celebrate with a Miles of Magic book relay. 

Leighton Primary School in Orton Malbourne, Peterborough, is one of 25 schools across the country selected to take part in the magical celebrations.  

Over the next four months, a special copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will travel from school to school, with pupils adding their own additions to the book before passing it on. 

Leighton Primary School, is in a ward with some of the highest literacy needs in the country. The book will reach Peterborough in April when pupils will have the chance to contribute to this well-loved story. 

The 25 schools have each been gifted a Harry Potter trunk of goodies to inspire pupils to celebrate the books and support their reading. Each trunk contains a class set of free Harry Potter books, a school resource from Warner Bros (the production company behind the Harry Potter films), a printed copy of the new Miles of Magic Reading Challenge, stickers, merchandise and more. 

Teacher Michelle Wells, reading lead at Leighton Primary School said: “We are extremely grateful to have been considered to take part in this magical opportunity. The trunk of wondrous goodies has arrived and will transport our children into the world of wizards, witches, awe and wonder. Studying the iconic adventures of Harry Potter and his friends to celebrate the 25th Year of the first book release will enable our year five pupils to share and record their opinions in class discussions and via the traveling postcards beyond our school.  

“We hope that this extraordinary experience will provide learning opportunities for the children to see themselves as active readers, writers and critics. The ideas they publish will be read widely and they must consider the wise words of J.K. Rowling’s character Professor Dumbledore, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” (The Chamber of Secrets).” 

The National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Publishing launched their Miles of Magic activity to schools across the UK on Harry Potter Book Night (February 3). 26,000 pupils have so far watched an exclusive event with Jonny Duddle, the illustrator of the Harry Potter 2014 book covers and this year’s silver anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Schools who were unable to join live can watch the recorded event online.

Jonny Duddle also launched the Miles of Magic Reading Challenge, a free classroom resource to encourage reading for pleasure and develop reading stamina. The challenge takes pupils on an adventure from Privet Drive to Hogwarts hitting magical locations for every 30 minutes they read. It is available for all schools and can be downloaded on the National Literacy Trust website  

Sally Atkinson, Peterborough Reads hub manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: “Having good literacy skills as a child determines so much during a person’s lifetime.  

“The Miles of Magic book Relay has the power to spark a love of reading for dozens of children and I can’t wait to see Leighton Primary school flying the flag for Peterborough. Hundreds more Peterborough children will be able to join in the wizardry fun by watching the Jonny Duddle event and taking on their own Miles of Magic Reading Challenge.” 

Beatrice Cross, head of publicity at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, said: “For 25 years, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has cast a spell on generations of children, thrilling passionate readers and encouraging reluctant readers to discover the joy of reading.  

“We are thrilled to be working with the National Literacy Trust to continue Harry’s legacy and help the children of today begin their magical reading adventure, unlocking their potential along the way.” 

To download the classroom resources visit here.