Throughout November the National Literacy Trust Black Country hosted workshops at Hillary Primary School in Walsall to engage students in creative writing workshops that celebrates the cultural diversity that runs through the school. The children were tasked with discovering stories from their family that explored cultural traditions which the students were then encouraged to share with their fellow pupils.
Structure of Hillary Primary Detective Agency programme:
Week 1 – Serena Patel author of Anisha Accidental Detective series took the students on a workshop on how to discover hidden stories about their families or parents’ lives. The children then went home and ‘investigated’, asking their relatives for stories or traditions.
Week 2 – National Literacy Trust Black Country put on a comic book workshop helping student’s turn their stories they had collected from home into comic book versions full of fantastical characters and adventures.
In addition to the workshops National Literacy Trust Black Country also created and shared themed detective resources such as: 'Draw yourself as a detective', 'Draw your trusty sidekick', 'Break the code' (use the codebreaker to discover the message), 'How many hello's?' (a class activity to find out how many hello's can be discovered based on the numerous languages spoken in the school) and 'A detectives best friend: The Lemon!' (use the special paper to send a secret message to your friend using lemon juice).
Week 3 – A big celebration event for the students to show off their work to visiting parents!
On Thursday 7 December National Literacy Trust Black Country and Hillary Primary hosted a celebration event at the school to showcase the fabulous comic book strips the children had created out of the stories they collected. The celebration event was a huge success with over 50 families in attendance including the fabulous author Serena Patel! Activities at the event included a comic book station and a props corner where parents and children could dress up as classic detectives. There were free books for adults as well as free food and drink. Children received detective badges and a free copy of Serena Patels ‘Anisha Accidental Detective’, a series of books that provided the inspiration for the program theme.
The children and parents fully enjoyed themselves at the event with parents leaving glowing feedback about the event:
This is a great initiative. It has encouraged my child to come home and focus on his detective project and also to read. Projects like this are instrumental in moving children towards books rather than digital devices.Parent of Hillary Primary School student
We are very happy [with] the way you are encouraging children [to write]. They will learn more by this [event]…and I believe that some… will surely become authors.B.Kasuma, parent of Hillary Primary School student
The author was very kind and supportive. The workshop was effective and motivating for the kids and also to help engage parents in learning about our kids journey. I am looking forward to more such activities.Momin Ali parent of Hillary Primary School student
National Literacy Trust Black Country will continue to work closely with the school who have recently recruited a handful of parent ambassadors to promote literacy throughout the school and surrounding communities.