Distributed via local 15 primary schools, each pack contained writing activities, craft ideas, puzzles and a section of high quality paper and card for families. Some of the writing activities were based on Story Quest, an initiative run by Stoke Reads and funded by Sport England that encourages families to explore their local areas by following a story trail packed with local facts, history and physical challenges.
The response from local schools was really positive. A teacher from Belgrave Saint Bartholomew’s Academy, who sent her class home with the packs at the end of term, said:
“Our children were so excited to receive them and couldn’t wait to get started at home. They were such a massive support in allowing the children to develop their reading and writing skills over the summer break!”.
Providing important support during lockdown
The National Literacy Trust released research on National Writing Day (24 June 2020) showing that writing helped children and young people process and cope with feelings of worry, anxiety and uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. Over 2 in 5 (41%) children and young people said that writing makes them feel better and 1 in 4 (25%) said that writing helps them when they feel sad that they can’t see friends and family. Many children and young people attributed this rise to lockdown providing them with the inspiration and conditions they need to write more creatively, such as having more time and space to think and generate ideas.
Since lockdown restrictions limited families’ access to these outdoor spaces, the Stoke Reads team swiftly adapted delivery and created a series of indoor Story Quest challenges that families could do in their own home. The activity pack included a space-themed Story Quest and a guide to creating your own Story Quest around your home.
Other highlights included an easy to follow, step-by-step guide to creating your own miniature book, a novel and accessible way for children to creatively chronicle their lockdown experiences. The packs were printed on high quality white and coloured REY paper (an International Paper brand), and featured brand mascot ‘Rey Bear’ starring in activities with his friends including origami, word games and puzzles.
Antony Mackie, International Paper Country Manager United Kingdom & Ireland, said:
“Literacy is a signature cause for International Paper, and we are very happy to support and contribute to the Stoke Reads campaign. We relocated our UK office to Stoke-on-Trent in 2019 and want to make a positive impact to the surrounding communities. This campaign makes a difference to families in the local area, and I’d like to thank National Literacy Trust for letting us be part of it”.
Lois Bateman, Story Quest Project Manager, said:
“We’re thrilled to have received this generous donation from International Paper Company. The families we work with are grateful for physical supplies to help them keep their children entertained.
“The Stoke Reads team have seen the effect creative expression has had on children’s wellbeing over lockdown so we’re so pleased to be able to share these high quality activities with so many families. We’d love to see the work children create with the materials in the packs; please share it with us on the Stoke Reads Facebook page!”.