STORIES came to life for youngsters across the region yesterday as school’s celebrated World Book Day.

From dressing up as their favourite literary character to taking part in reading challenges, both staff and pupils pulled out all the stops to make the annual day memorable.

At Staindrop CofE Primary School, in Teesdale, staff even made a giant story telling bed for each class to enjoy a story session from.

Teacher, Caroline Harland, organised the project, which involved borrowing a large blanket from the Georgian Theatre Royal, in Richmond, which was used in their pantomime.

The children then came to school in their pyjamas and each class took it in turn to hear a story on the giant prop.

Mrs Harland said the children had loved it and she particularly thanked the parents who had even donated bits of material to cover the huge surface and make it extra magical for the pupils.

Children from Pelton Community Primary School also enjoyed story time with a visit to their Pelton Library for an insight into what they can discover at their local library.

Lyndsey Williams, teacher and library co-ordinator at Pelton Community Primary School said: “World Book Day is incredibly important to our children and staff because it is an opportunity to celebrate and promote a love of reading.

“The children are excited to dress up as characters from their favourite stories and take part in related whole school activities. It also enables us to strengthen links and support our local library, as we already visit them on a regular basis.”

Meanwhile pupils at Prince Bishops Primary school, in Bishop Auckland, celebrated by dressing up as their favourite characters and sharing a story using different media with everything from role-play to animations.

They also held an extreme reading challenge where staff were set homework during half term to take a photo of themselves reading their favourite book in a strange place. Staff submitted their entries with everything from reading on planes to riding camels but the winner was announced as deputy headteacher, Mrs Patchett, who hung on monkey bars.

Books were also on the menu for St Cuthbert's CofE Primary School, in Crook, which won 15 books from Morrison's, in Bishop Auckland, after it asked for nominations. It was one of 81 schools nominated and picked out of a hat.

The store's community champion, Julie Knighton, said: "We could not believe the response. It's nice but also shows just how much resources are needed."

Yesterday at Browney Academy, in Durham, staff and pupils pulled out all the stops to dress up as their favourite book characters to celebrate World Book Day. 

From the usual princesses and Harry Potter lookalikes to a policeman and even pirates – there was a splendid array of costumes on show. 

"In line with this year's theme - Share a Story - children enjoyed an assembly in which teachers read extracts from the books in which their characters appear.  After assembly, children from all classes mixed together to enjoy sharing stories. We even had matching outfits with some grownups and children." said a spokesperson.

Meanwhile, at Sacriston Academy, a range of themes were evident to see from David Walliams to Harry Potter characters, Roald Dahl to fairy story characters, heroes, villains and even comic book stars.

Mr Hawkins in the office was a particularly big hit with his Fred the Frog costume from Read, Write Inc. 

"The theme of World Book Day this year is to share a story. So as well as lots of opportunities to share stories old and new today, we have also been discussing who we love sharing a story with," said a spokesperson. 

Liz Davison of Rosa Street Primary School in Spennymoor said: "We have been celebrating World Book Day today and have dressed as our favourite characters - even the teachers joined in.   

"We started the day with a whole school assembly to show our costumes and guessed which characters our friends were. 

"We all brought a book into school and we made a reading trail across the hall. 

"In classes children worked on World Book Day activities across the day.

"Year 6 wrote to their favourite authors. Year 4 and Year 1 became reading buddies and read lots of stories together throughout the day.  In Year 1 and 2 the children have read books written by Julia Donaldson."   

Ingleton CofE Primary in Darlington also joined in the fun.

"Our school had a themed World Book Day.  Each class chose a different author and came dressed up as a character from one of their books," said a spokesperson.

"We had, Julia Donaldson (EYFS, Y1 & Y2), Horrible Histories (Y3 & 4) and David Walliams (Y5 & 6).

"We also held a Book Swap where children could bring in their own book from home and swap with other children."