2021 has been another exciting year for Stoke Reads, as we continue to work closely with community partners, schools and local creatives to inspire families across the city to read together.
In the year Stoke was crowned the Kindest City in the UK, we ran two initiatives to celebrate and spread some joy to the nicest people out there. We hid books in parks across Stoke for families to find and keep, teamed up with local author Kathy Tallentire to offer the chance to win copies of her book Rescue Me, and created our first ever kindness trail! The online activities are still available to complete on this webpage.
In March and throughout the summer we also released our final four Story Quest trails, bringing our total to 16 trails across the city. A huge thank you goes to Chloe Breeze and Kidda Kinsey, our local authors and illustrators whose creativity made the last trails really special, as well as Alan Barrett who has continuously supported our events and brought stories to life for so many children. The Stoke Reads team absolutely loved seeing your smiling faces during these Story Quest events. Check out this video to see how they went. Families can still sign-up and take part in Story Quest by visiting Storyquest.org.uk.
Our #Take10toRead challenge proved hugely popular in May and again in October, with thousands of people across the city dropping everything and taking 10 minutes to read in support of mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that reading has been a source of escapism for young people over the past year, supporting their mental wellbeing and enabling them to dream about the future.
Throughout 2021 we have gifted over 16,000 books to families in the city to share together. A huge thank you goes out to our amazing community partners who continue to support our mission and help us access so many families that we couldn’t reach on our own.
So, how do we top that in 2022? We’ve got lots of exciting activities planned for the beginning of the year already, including activities based on Winnie the Pooh day, another #Take10toRead challenge, a literacy festival, further story trails and lots more! We’re sure there’ll be a few free books up for grabs as well!
If you think you might be interested in supporting the Stoke Reads campaign as a volunteer Literacy Champion, please do not hesitate to get in touch. To find out what we can achieve together get in touch by sending me an email.
Finally, I’d like to wish you all a very happy festive season! If you’re on the lookout for some Christmassy activities, you’re more than welcome to celebrate Christmas with us.
Lois Bateman, Stoke Reads Hub Manager.