Linzi lives in Bulwell and is mum to 15-year-old son James, who was born with autism. Linzi herself loves reading. She said, ‘I started reading when I was about 10 years old and haven’t stopped yet,’ but James sees reading as ‘something for school.’ On top of this, Linzi feels as if her local ‘community does not understand’ James, which leaves her ‘isolated.’
Linzi is a long-time, avid reader. ‘I love reading’, she said. ‘I started when I was about 10 years old and haven’t stopped. I read once or twice a week on my kindle and would read more if I had the time. When James was little I always read him bedtime stories, which he enjoyed.’
Our Literacy Champions project is aimed at anyone, like Linzi, who is passionate about making a difference and improving literacy levels in their local area. We support our team in Nottingham to implement creative, literacy-focused ideas that will encourage children and families to enjoy reading and make it a part of their everyday lives.
Linzi became a Literacy Champion after supporting at a Read on Nottingham book giveaway event at Bulwell Arts Festival. Here, she had the opportunity to distribute books to families, who might not have books of their own at home. Linzi said this ‘made her feel like part of the community.’
The Read On Nottingham team also encouraged James to dress up as the eponymous character from Julia Donaldson’s popular children’s book, The Gruffalo. ‘He enjoys dressing up and his ambition in life is to be a mascot,’ Linzi explained.
‘When he dressed as the Gruffalo he became a different person, interacted with others and had his photo taken with children and families,’ Linzi explained. ‘My son thoroughly enjoyed being the Gruffalo and we both got so much out of it.’
This experience secured Linzi’s decision to join the Read On Nottingham Literacy Champions team. ‘I decided to become a Literacy Champion to meet people, interact with others and to help combat loneliness,’ she said. Linzi has not only achieved these goals, but she’s also taking her role to the next level by setting up a book club at James’ school.
Linzi is the perfect example of how being a Literacy Champion can positively impact a local community as well as an individual Literacy Champion’s life. ‘I think the Literacy Champion project is a great idea,’ she said. ‘It helps encourage families to sit and share books with both children and adults and as a result, is improving everyone’s literacy.”