LITTLE literature lovers dressed up as their fictional favourites to celebrate World Book Day.

Stories came to life at schools all over Swindon as hundreds of pupils and even a few teachers donned colourful costumes to mark the book-tacular event.

Hays Education Recruitment held storytelling sessions throughout the day and gave out books and vouchers as prizes to Oliver Tomkins Primary School pupils who took the best photo of themselves reading.

The Toothill school's headteacher Rhian Cockwell dressed up as Captain Hook at the start of the day before changing into Red Riding Hood.

She said: "I'm really impressed by the effort and creativity that everyone put into their costumes - one pupil came as a dictionary, which was brilliant, and my deputy head made her own owl costume.

"It's always a very enjoyable and positive day for everyone here.

"Books were my escapism when I was younger. Lots of children spend all their time on tablets and screens so it's important that they develop a love of reading.

"It can be aspirational, it helps you learn about different subjects and explore other places, it sets you up well for life and expands your vocabulary."

Thames Pre-School in Cricklade marked the day by launching a free community library which is nestled inside a re-purposed greenhouse and filled with books that have been donated by staff and parents.

People in the area are being encouraged to take, read and donate books from the Little Library.

Committee chair Kathryn Reed said: “We know that not all children have easy access to lots of books and wanted to offer something to the community.

“We believe that reading, or simply looking at the words and pictures in a book, is an essential first step for children, not only in preparing them for school, but in helping them to develop a wide vocabulary, crucial for speech and language development and building self confidence.

“We are very lucky in Cricklade to have a lovely library which is supportive of our initiative and that we encourage people to use.

"We wanted to mark World Book Week this year with a strong focus on sharing books and stories, and we are inviting parents in this week to help us share stories with the children."

The Literacy Trust organises the annual book-themed celebration. A spokesman said that one in eight disadvantaged children in the UK say that they don’t have a book of their own.

The Deanery Academy joined the fun for the first time by inviting author Fleur Hitchcock to host creative workshops with Year 7 pupils.