PUPILS from Cutteslowe Primary School came face to face with one of their very own ‘superheroes’ when they met the children’s author Michael Dahl.

Mr Dahl is the author of more than 100 children’s books including the popular Library of Doom adventure series and the comic book-inspired DC chapter books.

Based on superhero stories like Superman and Batman, his titles include The Last Son of Krypton, Five Riddles for Robin and The Man Behind the Mask.

The author met some of his young fans at Raintree Publishing, in Jordan Hill, Oxford.

Mr Dahl said: “I grew up in a house of books. My parents were always reading. I think it’s important for children to see grown-ups excited about reading, just as the Raintree staff are sharing their own passion for books.”

Since September, six Raintree Publishing staff have been working as volunteers for Bicester-based charity ARCh (Assisted Reading for Children).

They spend an hour each week helping Cutteslowe pupils to improve their reading, which ties in with the aims of the Oxford Mail -backed Oxfordshire Reading Campaign.

Sixteen pupils fromYear Five and Six went to visit the volunteers at their offices earlier this month.

Raintree Publishing spokesman Mica Brancic said: “The children had the chance to meet and talk with Michael and take part in some fun activities like a drawing competition, which Michael judged.

“As well as making donations of books to local organisations we wanted to get involved in the community in some way – and ARCh is a great organisation to be involved with.

“All the volunteers are very excited about the year ahead, working with the children, helping them with their reading and watching them grow and progress.”

Among the new ARCh volunteers is book editor John-Paul Wilkins, 32, from Oxford.

He said: “All the volunteers have been ‘buddied’ with another, and we’re going into the school for an hour each week, reading with three children.

“Even though we only started in September we are already seeing improvements, both in reading levels and confidence.

“I’m enjoying spending time with the children and watching them progress. It’s nice to pass on a love of reading and to show that reading can be about fun, as well as learning.

“And as editors of books for children and people who are always looking for new ideas, it’s also a good opportunity to garner what’s popular with children.”

ARCh has about 240 volunteers, who help 600 children in 90 primary schools for three hours a week.

Last year the charity found that 98 per cent of children improved their confidence and attitude to reading. And 97 per cent displayed improved confidence and self-esteem.

Jane Rendle founder of ARCh, said: “Cutteslowe School is in special measures but is now making good progress. “There’s a lot of need within the school – 42 per cent of children have English as an additional language and 36 per cent have special educational needs.

“We’re especially pleased, therefore, to be supporting Cutteslowe with six new Raintree volunteers, in addition to our two community volunteers.

“But we would also love to hear from other companies who would like their staff to volunteer for us, or who would like to support us in any other way.”

For more details on becoming an ARCh volunteer call 01869 320380 or visit archoxfordshire.org.uk