Oxford Reading Spree

A conference/festival/celebration of reading in schools

Buy Tickets for Oxford Reading Spree

Tickets for Oxford Reading Spree will be available through Eventbrite very soon

Tickets cost fifteen pounds and include a tasty lunch made by the amazing Sandra and Marie of Waste to Taste. Those who have been to one of the Spree events before will regard that as being worth the ticket price by itself.

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Getting to Oxford Reading Spree

The Reading Spree is happening at Larkrise Primary School in East Oxford. There is plenty of parking on the school playground.

Arriving by Car

The school postcode is OX4 4AN. Do not try to come through town, whatever direction you come from use the ring road and approach Larkrise on the A4158.

Coming round the ring road in a clockwise direction from the A34 you will cross over the river Thames and pass the Sainsbury’s Superstore. At the next roundabout take the first exit towards the town centre. You will pass a row of shops and down a steep hill (look out for the speed camera) and then up again. At the next set of lights turn right onto Boundary Brook Road. The school is along on the right.

Coming round the ring road in an anti-clockwise direction you will pass the mini-factory, at the next roundabout take the third exit towards the town centre. You will pass a row of shops and down a steep hill (look out for the speed camera) and then up again. At the next set of lights turn right onto Boundary Brook Road. The school is along on the right.

Arriving by Train And Bus

Exit the station through the main entrance and look for the Number 3 bus. The Number 3 leaves approximately every ten minutes. Tell the driver you are going to the co-op on Iffley Road and ask them to give you a shout. Settle in as you’ll go right through the city centre, over the River Cherwell and up the Iffley Road. Getting off at the co-op, continue along Iffley Road for a hundred metres or so then turn left onto Boundary Brook Road, Larkrise is along on the right.

Reading Gladiators

Reading Gladiators



Just Imagine’s Reading Gladiators (TM) is a school-based programme designed to provide a challenging reading experience that motivates children to read for pleasure. Gladiators are encouraged to read widely and to make adventurous reading choices. They collaborate with team mates and undertake individual challenges.

Participating schools are clustered in informal regions and come together at the end of the year to take part in a fearsome challenge day, pitting their wits against opposing teams in a contest of knowledge, performance and creativity.

Reading Gladiators provides a value for money reading programme by ensuring school book selections are renewed on an annual basis. We have feedback from schools that it has increased both teacher and pupil knowledge about books and authors beyond the obvious and popular choices.

Flexibility is a key feature of the two programmes that are running from September 2016. Some schools prefer to integrate Reading Gladiators into guided reading sessions, others prefer to run the programme as an after-school or lunchtime club. The groups are often run by class teachers but we also have examples of headteachers, teaching assistants and parents running the groups. What is important is that the leader is passionate about reading and that they can lead discussion rather than asking a set of pre-determined questions. We provide guidance on some effective ways of doing this. We can also provide guidance as to what has worked well for the schools taking part this year.

Peters Books

Once upon a time, a short walk from platform 9¾ at Birmingham New Street, there existed a secret place called Peters, full of the best books in the land…

Every fairytale prince and princess has the ability to become a bookworm, and Peters are passionate about harnessing this ability by helping you choose the perfect books for your readers. Peters is the UK’s leading specialist children’s book and furniture supplier to nurseries, schools, academies and public libraries, and for over 80 years we have been helping teachers and librarians offer children access to the right books and inspiring spaces in which to enjoy reading. You can buy in person in our showroom, over the phone with our friendly team on 0121 666 6646, or online via

Looking to buy in person? Step into the magical showroom at Peters and you’ll be transported to Wonderland, just like Alice! There are shelves upon shelves of over 40,000 individual fiction and non-fiction titles, from board books all the way up to teen and young adult fiction, ready for you to browse and buy. Relax in between book buying in our book-themed reading café, where you can enjoy tea and biscuits and lunch to help you decide which title to look for next. While you’re visiting our literary haven, you can also browse our furniture selection for libraries, classrooms and reception areas. Our on-site designers can also visit you in school and create a free, no-obligation CAD design to help you create the ideal reading area at your school. You can also buy furniture online via

Prefer to browse for new books online? Access exclusive discounts and special offers on our website, Here, you’ll find levelling information, keywords and invaluable reviews from our expert children’s librarians, who read and review every book that comes through our doors! With their encyclopaedic knowledge of children’s books, why not try our bespoke selections service, where our librarians and curriculum specialists can pick the perfect books for your readers depending on your budget and requirements, from Allan Ahlberg to Benjamin Zephaniah.

Visit to start your story. May your bookworms read happily ever after!

Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Everything that the Press does is driven by a love of learning and a love of the written word.

Oxford University Press is a world leader in Educational publsihing with strands for Primary, Secondary and Vocational books as well as their top quality list of children’s books. As a local employer OUP is a great fit for The Spree, many of the parents and carers at Larkrise Primary School work a the Press. Ed Finch, organiser of the Reading Spree, even made a guest appearance in Biff and Chip’s trip to Carnival!

We hope that Oxford Reading SPree 2018 will mark the start of a long and fruitful relationship between The Spree and Oxford University Press. You can find out more about their work on thier website Oxford University Press



What’s a Spree?

Ed Finch writes;

Last year, on April 1st, some of the most exciting people in the world of books and reading came to a little school in East Oxford and worked together to create the year’s most distincitve, day of reading, thinking, discussion and fun.

We had Simon Smith (@smsimon) talking about his life as a reader, Martin Galway (@GalwayMr) on the many spleanoured thing that is reading itself, Andrew Moffat (@moffat_andrew) told us about his ‘No Outsiders’ appraoch to creating an inclusive school ethos through picturebooks, Nick Swarbrick (@nickswarb) made us think hard about the relationship between home, school and reading, Mary Roche (@marygtroche) inspired us with her intimate dialogical approach for developing critical readers.

Author Piers Torday (@PiersTorday) spoke movingly in an intimate interview with Simon Smith, Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom) challenged us to percieve the hidden bias that excludes children from the mainstream of literature, Rhoda Wilson (@TemplarWilson) helped us think about how we could deliver guided reading to our whole class, Sue Cowley (@Sue_Cowley) led workshop particpants through the steps it might take to get their own book from their laptop to the bookshop shelf and the wonderful Mini Grey (@bonzetta) showed particpants how to make their own fliping, folding, surprising little books.

I’ve left so many people out – the Story Museum were there and Chris Smith of Storytelling Schools…. so many more.

For particpants the day was a feast, we learned, laughed, enjoyed, debated and made new friends.

So, what’s a Spree? It’s part conference, part festival, part celebration and it’s all fun. 2018 is shaping up to be even better than 2017 – some of the same people are coming back, some new ones are adding their voices, the programme will be packed, the goody bags will be busring, the lunch will be insanely delcious (and insanely good value) and the only thing missing is… you! SO, don’t delay, snap up a ticket while there’s some left and let’s get this show on the road.


We have an extraordinarily strong line up of speakers and workshop leaders for our Reading Spree. More may be added but so far the list includes;

Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom)

Darren is a teacher and academic. He contributed a thought provoking chapter to the highly successful ‘The Good Immigrant’. He has lots to say on the subject of representation of black and minority ethnicity characters in fiction. You can read his blog here.

Martin Galway (@GalwayMr)

Martin is a well known book lover and a literacy advisor. He is held in high regard for his attention to detail and his expertise in teaching grammar through reading of high quality texts. We’re letting him off the leash to speak on something close to his heart. There may be tears. Martin contributes to the Herts for Learning English blogs and newsletters . You can see some of his work here.

Mini Grey

Mini is the author and illustrator of a whole host of brilliant, quirky, thought provoking picturebooks including the all time classic ‘Traction Man’. Mini’s books often question or gently poke fun at stereotypes and preconceptions. You can find out more about Mini and her books here.





Chris Smith (@chrissts1)

Chris is an Oxford based storyteller, musician, trainer and founding member of Storytelling Schools. Chris has worked in schools, universities, museums and prisons using the power of story to improve education and to change lives. There’s lots more to find out at

Simon Smith (@smithsmn)

Simon spent some years as a literacy consultant but now works as a Head Teacher in Whitby. He has an infectious passion for children’s literature which runs from picturebooks to Young Adult Literature. Simon’s blog is thoughtful, entertaining and frequently moving.


Mat Tobin (@Mat_at_Brookes)

Mat teaches at Oxford Brooke’s University. He is involved in ITT as well the Early Childhood Studies programme and the PGcert/MA programme. Mat has a dizzying array of research interests including landscape in the work of Alan Garner, depictions of fatherhood in picturebooks, vernacular architecture as a window into representation in children literature and Reading for Pleasure. Mat’s blog is a treasure trove of thoughts, reviews and interviews around children’s literature.

SF Said (@whatSFSaid)

SF is the author of Varjak Paw and Phoenix, he is currently working on Tyger which we hope will see the light of day before too many more months have passed. SF is a passionate advocate for children’s reading and for school libraries. Unlike some chilren’s authors, SF is never afraid to say what he thinks – ask him a question and you’ll get an answer! Check out his many blogs at SF Said

Jules Pottle (@MrSpottle)

When it comes to using storytelling to deliver targetted learning Jules is the one to watch. She has collaborated with Chris Smith of Stroytelling Schools on ‘Teaching Science through Storytelling, and Teaching History through Storytelling – two indispensible volumnes of brilliant stories and brillaint ideas. Jules continues to teach regularly ensuring her ideas and training has real authority.



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