Chichester University students open reading den at Westbourne Primary

A very special reading den was opened at Westbourne Primary School last Wednesday.

Saturday, 19th May 2018, 2:44 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:19 am
Westbourne Primary Schools school council, plus the three Chi Uni students who transformed the den (SR1812889)

Along with the help of pupils and staff at the Emsworth school, four trainee teachers from the University of Chichester transformed a shed into a space for reading.

The reading den now showcases characters from a range of beloved children’s literature, including Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat and David Walliam’s The Boy in the Dress.

Rebecca Mallender is one of the four students who have spent eight months creating the reading den.

Westbourne Primary Schools school council, plus the three Chi Uni students who transformed the den (SR1812889)

The Primary Education student said: “We have been creating an ‘irresistible’ reading den at Westbourne Primary School to encourage children to develop a love of reading in their spare time.

“This really has involved the whole school from Reception to Year Six.”

The children’s creative ideas were used when designing the reading den, following discussions between the University students and the School Council.

Representatives from the School Council discussed with their classes their favourite books, and then fed ideas back to the four University students the following week.

The reading den opening (SR1812905)

Ideas ranged from Robin Hood to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the resident artist of the group, Laura Cockroft, took to work to create an amazing design for the special reading den.

Lucy Fry, another trainee teacher, said: “This project was immediately exciting for us as we could see the passion pouring out of the pupils at Westbourne, as well as being exciting for them it suited our group’s combined interests of English and Art”.

The shed is now complete in its transformation into a special reading den.

Rebecca continued: “The reactions from the children are inspiring. They were all very excited for the project to be finished.”

Abi Stubbs, another University student, added; “Throughout the project, it was great to see children working together to discuss ideas and seeing their faces light up as they saw their visions come to life”.

An opening ceremony was held at Westbourne Primary School on Wednesday, May 9, at 1pm.

It was hosted with some of the children from the school who have made a contribution to the development of the reading den.

Rebecca said: “The reading den is already a huge success with both children and adults in the school.

“This is a project that will last well into the future and inspire further generations of children to enjoy and love reading.”

For more information about Westbourne Primary School, visit