OXFORDSHIRE youngsters took reading lessons from an owl in December 1986.

The owl, which was a symbol of the publishing company Books for Students, dropped into Cutteslowe First School, near Oxford, to teach for an afternoon.

It was all part of the school head teacher Jill Prideaux's efforts to encourage pupils to do more reading.

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She said: "We closed our book shop for a while because interest had waned, be we reopened it again recently. We're having a real blitz on books."

The owl-dressed teacher talked and read to children throughout the afternoon and struck up a friendship with seven-year-old Natalie Smith.

Miss Prideaux said: "We thought it would give children a little added incentive to use the book shop and generally increase their interest in books. We think that's very important and the owl was a great success."