Young and old unite for special storytime

Jul 2, 2024

It was smiles all round when a group of six-year-old children and elderly care home residents in South Shields spent a special afternoon reading books together.

Year 1 pupils from St. Gregory’s Catholic Primary school, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, visited Cheviot Court Care Home to read to some of the residents – and it is hard to say whether it was the children or the adults who enjoyed it the most!

Harper White, six, said: “I liked chatting and reading books to the elderly people. We spoke about my hobbies and they enjoyed listening to my reading.”

Harry Freestone, six, said: “I loved it because reading to the elderly people made me smile a lot.”

Isaias Morales-Ferreira, six, said: “When I started to read to the man it made me feel happy because he helped me read words.”

Six-year-old Austin Green said: “I liked reading to the people because it was different. They said I was good at reading.”

Anna Lysaght, also six, added: “It was really good because I love to read. I shared my book with two people, they enjoyed it.”

Year 1 teacher Jessica Lammonby said: “It was absolutely fantastic. The children really enjoyed it and we left the residents with a lovely smile on their faces.

“We want to develop that deeper passion for reading and the value of working together with members of the community.”

Acting headteacher Emma Shaughnessy said: “As a school, we value working as part of the wider community. A report from the National Institute of Education found that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity leading to their success in, and love of reading, and for older people sharing a book is a wonderful way to bond and create memories with young children.

“Pope Francis said in one of his homilies: ‘We need a new alliance between young people and the elderly so that the sap of those who have a long experience of life behind them will nourish the shoots of hope of those who are growing’ and that ‘In this fruitful exchange we can learn the beauty of life and build a dialogue between tradition and the newness of the Spirit’.

“As a Catholic school we promote the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, and as followers of Christ, who shared his life freely with everyone, we must imitate him and build welcoming communities where all are supported, especially those in need, and where we allow ourselves to be supported too. A community of one person doesn’t exist. It is our responsibility to participate and work together to build strong societies that benefit all.”

There are four Reception spaces and five Year 3 spaces for September 2024 at St Gregory’s. Anyone interested in a school place can contact the school office by emailing:

For more information about the school, please visit

For more information about BCCET, please visit


Photo captions: Y1 pupils from St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School enjoying reading to residents of Cheviot Court Care Home, South Shields.

Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.

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