Summertime comic book initiative launched to help children catch up

06 Jul 2021
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Stoke Reads and sustainable paper brand REY paper will deliver 592 resource packs to Years 5 – 7 students in Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke Reads brings together partners across the city to promote reading and boost literacy levels – and this forms part of the charity’s summer offer to support students as they transition from primary to secondary school. REY paper is contributing 150,000 sheets of paper to the initiative.

Packs with a selection of activities, all the REY paper children need to create their own comic, colouring pencils, and a free Beano comic are being sent to nine schools in Stoke – with over 10,000 packs being donated nationwide.

Accompanying each pack is the charity’s summer writing challenge: Comics Rule!, where children will be asked to design their own comic. The creative writing activity aims at improving writing attitudes and boost literacy skills. Schools can share students’ comic book designs on Twitter, tagging @Literacy_Trust and #summerwritingchallenge.

Alongside the physical donations, all teaching materials and activity packs such as the summer writing challenge will be available for summer school teachers and children to download for free on the National Literacy Trust’s Words for Life website and signposted on the Oak National Academy website. These are designed with students aged between 10 and 12 in mind.

Antony Mackie, Country Sales Manager, UK & Ireland at International Paper (manufacturers of REY) said:

“We are delighted to partner with the National Literacy Trust on this important summer school project. We want to encourage children to have fun with the writing and design of comics and allow their imaginations to run wild. The last year has been exceptionally difficult for children and there are reports that the pandemic means 200,000 year 6 students may start secondary school with low literacy. We are glad to help children in Stoke during this key transitional period.“

Lois Bateman, Project Manager of Stoke Reads, said:

“We’re so thankful for REY paper for supporting the National Literacy Trust’s summertime initiative here in Stoke. We know these type of projects can help to the transition of children going from primary to secondary education.

“The National Literacy Trust’s recent writing research* showed a quarter (23%) of children who write in their free time at least once a month do so because it makes them feel happy or more confident. Writing has a proven link to children’s wellbeing and there couldn’t be a more important time to support the health of our children and young people.

“I’ll be keeping an eye out for the fabulous comic book designs created by the Stoke children who receive the packs. For parents and families looking for summer activities, everyone is able to enjoy this brilliant activity online.”

Mike Stirling, Editorial Director at Beano Studios said:

"Access to comics encourages children to enjoy reading for fun. It’s hugely satisfying to watch a reader navigate a comic for the first time - the story leaps off the page, straight into their imagination. Many teachers use Beano and our free Beano for Schools resources as their secret weapon and we’re very proud to support this amazing initiative. At a time when children are facing such challenges to their learning, teachers often tell us how beneficial it is for children to just enjoy a bit of Beano silliness, creativity and reading and writing for the fun of it.”

The Words for Life activity page can be accessed here.

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