Important announcement

Dec 6, 2012 by

Hello. Barry here with a message from myself and Tommy about the future of Start the Story Magazine.

As you may know, we launched the magazine back in July, neither of us having the first clue about running a print or web publication, but both full of ideas and enthusiasm. Every month we discovered new and better ways of doing things, and last month – following feedback from our readers – we ditched the cumbersome PDF magazine format in favour of making all content available online.

Because this allowed us to work much more quickly, and meant we weren’t spending 30+ hours a month laying out the PDF, we decided to drop the price of subscriptions from £36 to £24, which we believe offered subscribers a real value for money product.

However, following recent comments by Michael Gove in which he sang the praises of learning by rote and appeared to completely dismiss creativity and imagination in the classroom, we’ve decided to go one step further. We would like to make Start the Story completely free to all schools, libraries and individuals, so everyone has access to the resources we will be continuing to offer. Now, more than ever, it is vital that education be made fun and engaging for pupils, and if Start the Story can be a useful weapon in a teacher’s arsenal, we want to make sure as many teachers as possible can access it, regardless of dwindling budgets.

So, over the next few weeks the site will be going through a transition period. All existing content will be made available free of charge to everyone. You will still have to sign up to access some of it, but there will be no cost to do so. The site will be redesigned to reflect this change, making it easier to find information quickly.

Our plan is to grow from here, making Start the Story a thriving, one-stop-shop for teachers, librarians and parents who want to encourage their pupils and children to get more from reading and writing. We will be adding community elements to the site, allowing readers to share their own ideas and best practice with others around the world.

To do this, we need some help. If you’re an author, teacher, librarian, or anyone else involved in children’s literacy, and you have ideas for articles, we’d love you to get in touch. If you think you can help, drop us an email to and let’s chat.

Literacy levels in UK children are among the lowest in Europe. Together we can help turn that around.

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  1. I’m not a teacher, or an author but I do work regularly with books and children and absolutely applaud this idea! So awesome, I’ll be retweeting and mentioning this to teachers I know 🙂

    The thing that springs to mind instantly is how to get children out of a genre rut – you know, read something outside of their usual. I’m all for children reading their favourites, but I know that teachers are often keen to get kids reading something new, so an article on that might be helpful?

    Identity and reading – I’ve noticed that some cultures get completely missed in mainstream reading. It’s quite difficult sometimes to find really good books which are based mostly in another culture or styled on one, maybe that’s an idea for an article? (Or I could just not be as knowledgeable as I thought 🙂 )

    My knowledge might be a bit out of date, but I seem to remember some schools would use a theme to work cross-curricular, so the one theme in a book could be stretched out across maths, english, history etc. Is it worth exploring that idea, or maybe seeing if one book can be used multiple ways? It happens often enough in lower primary, but I wonder about secondary or upper primary. Of course my mind’s gone completely blank now, but I’m sure that some titles would be brilliant for this. (Ooh! Idea! Philip Ridley’s Scribbleboy?)

    Any help at all?

  2. Will gladly re-tweet this and see about ways to get involved. Started working last year in a small village library situated opposite the primary school which I have already invaded several times.
    In a previous life taught “reluctant readers” but don`t really believe they exist which was interesting. Am a huge fan of Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen and Daniel Pennac.
    Also currently reading The Crowmaster so it may be sometime before I dare go out again which will give me more time to follow the progress of Start The Story.

  3. That’s great news, Barry and Tommy, and well done for making this universally accessible – I’m sure it will be of real value to teachers, librarians, schools and children everywhere. We will be very happy to provide an article or a column or whatever would be helpful to you, drawing on our 27 years of experience in promoting reading for pleasure to children via Brough Girling’s Readathon charity. We’ll email you separately with more ideas – and we’ll also be happy to promote what you’re doing via our website, Twitter, and Facebook. And let’s talk!

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