I had a fascinating meeting this week with Marian Keen-Downs, Head of Targeted Programmes at Booktrust. It was great to hear all that is currently happening with Letterbox Club and Booktrust’s new targeted offers for selected schools, The Ant Club and Beyond Booked up. Both schemes start early next year, providing teachers’ packs with resources and lesson plans to promote communication, language and literacy skills, and reading for pleasure.
The Ant Club is aimed at pupils in Reception and Year 1. The resources sound wonderful. They will include rhyme, role play, fairy tale and poetry, all brought to life by Nick Sharratt. I love the idea of the scrapbook to help children ‘get carried away by words’.
BeyondBooked Up is aimed at Year 7 and 8 pupils. There will be lots of accessible resources, all designed to inspire interest in books and reading, including play scripts and a brand new anthology of short stories. This is going to be in magazine format, and Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz are among the high-profile authors. The packs will be free for eligible schools, and will be available at cost to other schools in the future.
I blogged a few weeks ago about Letterbox Club’s impact on looked-after children’s reading in Brent. The scheme is transforming LAC’s attitudes to reading and learning up and down the UK. In one Welsh authority, information about the local university was included in the Letterbox envelopes. Foster families asked for a visit, and seeing the place for themselves completely changed the children’s views about higher education. Interestingly, some of the most popular books for key stage 3 children have been an atlas and a dictionary.
Marian and I discussed ideas for workshops on reading for foster carers. Fingers crossed that we can get them off the ground.