We kick start Volunteers’ Week with a powerful Reader Story from one of our volunteer Reader Leaders.
BBC’s annual Children in Need appeal takes place this Friday, so there’s no need to be alarmed if you spot a sudden surge of fluffy yellow bear ear-wearing individuals. Just last week, we happened to come across a VIB (very special Bear) at MediaCityUK…
Earlier this year, we were awarded a grant from Children in Need to fund our project reading with Looked After Children in Wirral. Our previous work with Looked After Children across Merseyside has shown how reading for pleasure can bring a variety of benefits, not least in creating a safe environment in which young people can engage with literature that relates to them.
“I love this, I want it to go on forever” – a Looked After Child reading with us as part of our pilot project
By reading one-on-one with a project worker or volunteer in a familiar setting, children are able to expand their imaginations and discover new possibilities. Not only does our shared reading approach encourage a love for reading for the sheer fun of doing so, but also allows young people to reflect on the experiences of the characters they encounter, stimulating a greater sense of empathy and understanding. Making children excited about books in their own space often gives the incentive of wanting to read more, and so we’ve found that confidence with literacy increases, as does general self-esteem.
For some children, reading can offer a support unavailable elsewhere – a way of getting to grips with their emotions and providing a safe domain through which their voice can be heard, and in some cases found. The connection between reading and wellbeing allows for a retreat from the stresses of everyday life and an escape into another world. This was true for Liam, who took part in one of our previous projects:
“The support of reading together was apparent another week, when Liam looked like he’d been crying and his carer said he had not had a good day in school. He did not want to talk to me about it, but he did feel like reading. We got absorbed in the story together, and by the end he looked much happier. I asked him if he felt better than before the session and he said he did, which was very rewarding.”
Over the next three years, we’ll be able to create more of these reading experiences for over 100 young people aged between 5-15 on the Wirral thanks to the funding received by Children in Need. We’ve already started to recruit volunteers who will be matched with a child for one-to-one reading sessions in foster and care homes. After six months, young people will be able to continue by taking part in group sessions with their peers, encouraging friendships to be formed as well as their love of reading to grow.
Read more of our Reader Stories from Looked After Children in some of our previous projects:
Calling all budding poets in Wirral – details of the region’s annual celebration of poetry have been announced, as The Chris Salmon Poetry Extravaganza 2015 is open for entries.
Held in conjunction with Wirral Libraries, the competition is held in memory of poetry-loving Chris Salmon, a student at Calday Grange Grammar School who died from a rare streptococcal infection in February 2009 aged just 15. Last year’s competition was an enormous success, attracting over 850 entries from across the region.
The theme for 2015 is ‘Light’, and the competition is open to Wirral adults and students of all ages. Cash prizes will be awarded to both winners and runners-up in each age category (Age 11 and Under; Ages 11-16; Age 16-18; and Adults), and they will also be invited to attend a workshop hosted by a local renowned poet. The overall winner aged 18 or under will also become Wirral’s Young Poet Laureate for the following 12 months.
Chris’s mother Julie Salmon said:
“We are absolutely delighted how much the popularity of the competition has grown, attracting 850 entries last year with the age of the entrants ranging from 5-90 years. We hope that the amount of entrants for the 2015 competition will surpass even last year’s record amount. We are so grateful for the magnificent support we receive from Wirral Council’s Library service as without their support the poetry extravaganza would not exist.”
Cllr Chris Meaden, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture said:
“Last year’s competition saw hundreds of adults and young people send in their poetry. I know the judges had a really difficult decision to make because of the high standards that were set, and this year will be no different.
It’s always a pleasure to be able to celebrate Chris’s life, and the impact his memory and legacy continues to have on Wirral, thanks to the Salmon family.”
Submitted poems must be no longer than 30 lines. Entry is free, and all entries must be submitted by 15th January 2015.
Winners will be invited to read their poems at a Presentation Night on 27th March 2015 at Bromborough Civic Centre.
Entries must be on or attached to an official entry form (downloadable here) and submitted by 15th January 2015. Entries can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in an envelope marked ‘FAO Diane Mitchell’ to Birkenhead Library, Borough Road, Birkenhead, Wirral CH41 2XB
For full competition details, see www.chrissalmon.org.uk
The Reading for Pleasure Effect in Education
Thursday 6th March, 4.40pm-6.30pm
Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Park Road West, Claughton Village, Prenton, Wirral CH43 8SQ
“I’ve started reading at home, I used to get nervous reading aloud but I’m dead good at it now.” – 11 year old reader in a shared reading session
Recent research has discovered that young people who regularly read for pleasure are more likely to perform better across all aspects of school subjects than their peers who read less, and English teachers, literary coordinators and school librarians are invited to join The Reader Organisation for this special free event exploring the positive effects of reading for pleasure in secondary schools.
The Reader Organisation has extensive experience of reading for pleasure with children and young people both in groups and one to one, in schools and other settings. The focus of all of our weekly read aloud sessions is entirely on enjoyment, taking the pressure off the young person reading which means even the most reluctant of readers can get involved. The informality of the sessions help to make reading enjoyable, encouraging a love of literature in young people while also building confidence, self-esteem, social relationships and reading ability.
Our work with children and young people in Wirral is particularly successful, with Readers-in-Residence operating in schools within the region. 100% of the young people we read with in Wirral schools said they looked forward to their reading sessions.
This special event is a showcase of The Reader Organisation’s work with young people in secondary education, giving a taste of shared reading groups and the positive impact shared reading can have on individual pupils as well as the overall environment of the school.
It’s free to attend but booking is necessary. For more information about the event and to book your place please contact Abigail: email@example.com
Find out more about our work in schools and with young people on our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/what-we-do-and-why/education-young-people
Award winning author, screenwriter and patron of The Reader Organisation Frank Cottrell Boyce will be returning to Merseyside for a special FREE event at Leasowe Library this coming Saturday, 9th November. Fresh from his latest success winning the German Children’s Literature Award for The Unforgotten Coat – the book he wrote especially for TRO – Frank will be reading from some of his books, answering questions and signing copies at the library on Saturday afternoon.
The event has been organised by Leasowe Reading and Wellbeing Library, a collaboration between Wirral Council and The Reader Organisation promoting public engagement, improving users’ health and wellbeing, and reducing social isolation. The library has recently heralded the arrival of a range of new books for children and young people, purchased through a £1,500 grant from the Siobhan Dowd Trust.
As well as getting the opportunity to hear Frank read some of his imagination-captivating stories in person, there will also be a free raffle for all children at the event with some wonderful prizes on offer.
Cllr Chris Meaden, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Wirral Borough Council said:
“I can’t stress enough how pleased I am to be able to welcome Frank to appear at Leasowe Library. As well as being one of the country’s most successful and recognised writers, his opening ceremony for the London Olympics was an iconic production that will live long in people’s memory.”
Don’t miss out on this brilliant afternoon with one of the country’s most successful writers celebrating the books and activities going on at Leasowe Library for children and young people each week.
The event is free but advance booking is essential. For more information about the afternoon or to book your place, please contact Victoria Clarke, Reading and Wellbeing Library Development Officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07857 355 732 or 07807 106 857.