To celebrate the Middlesbrough Reading Campaign’s Early Words Together programme which works with families to support early home learning, a hundred paper owls will be landing on the front entrance of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) on Saturday 19 July for a mural inspired by Tim Hopgood’s award-winning early years book, WOW! Said the Owl.
To be created by two to five-year-old children with help from mima’s popular art trolley, the feathered creatures will perch atop 3 vinyl trees. Tim Hopgood and storyteller and singer Tony Wilson will be entertaining little ones with stories in Middlesbrough Central Library and mima alongside their families and the Early Words Together volunteers at the celebratory event.
There will also be sing-alongs at The Crypt in Middlesbrough Town Hall as Tony Wilson plays his guitar with lunch for the children provided by Sainsbury’s. After lunch, Tony Wilson and Tim Hopgood will give out certificates to children and volunteers as well as a copy of Tim’s ‘WOW! Said the owl’ book for each child as recognition of their work and progress throughout the programme.
After the event, members of the public are then invited to add decorated leaves to the artwork while the colourful birds keep a beady eye over Middlesbrough’s Centre Square until Saturday 26 July 2014.
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 programme gave me the confidence to support my daughter’s learning through fun and creative activities. I felt so proud to see her come out of her shell and I wanted to help other parents. I’m really enjoying seeing the same change in more children, meeting new people and working as a team.”