Over a hundred Middlesbrough children and parents flocked to the centre of town for a day of storytellers, art and music to celebrate the National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together programme which works with families to support early home learning.
Little ones were captivated by Tony Wilson’s musical storytelling accompanied by his guitar and Tim Hopgood’s reading from his book, ‘WOW! Said the owl’, the inspiration behind the owl mural created by the children at mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art). With help from the cultural institution’s art trolleys, children aged 2-5 created a colourful array of paper owls to perch atop vinyl trees on mima’s front entrance.
Children were then treated to lunch from Sainsbury’s at Middlesbrough’s Town Hall where Tony Wilson and Tim Hopgood gave out certificates to children and volunteers as well as a copy of Tim’s book, WOW! Said the Owl for each child as recognition of their work and progress throughout the programme.
Through children’s centres, the National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together programme works with families to increase children’s school readiness. Families are supported by trained community volunteers and can also take part in a book choice session and are able to choose up to three books to keep.
Nisha, who became an Early Words Together volunteer after being supported by the same programme with her own child says:
“The event was lovely and I really enjoyed celebrating a programme which has given me the confidence to support my daughter’s learning through fun activities. My daughter really liked the storytelling at the event and as a volunteer on the programme, I especially enjoyed making an album which filled with drawings and words which told stories from our activities”
Allison Potter, the National Literacy Trust’s Middlesbrough Hub Manager says:
“It’s been great to celebrate all the hard work from families and volunteers who have made the programme such a success. Our local partners have been so supportive and the mural looks fantastic!”