One in five children in the UK leave primary school unable to read or write properly. That 20% rises to 33% for children from poorer backgrounds. A report in 2012 by Ofsted stated there had been no improvement in literacy levels since 2008, and that British children are in danger of falling behind those from other European countries.
This report and others suggests that if a child falls behind in reading and writing as early as age 7, they can struggle to catch up for the rest of their life.
In order to combat the problem, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s chief inspector, has called for schools to become “passionate about literacy”, adding: “Too many young adults lack the skills to make their way in the world. We are no longer a leading country in literacy performance – others are doing better.”
But tackling the issue is easier said than done. With demands on teachers growing all the time and budget cuts meaning reductions in staff numbers, it can be almost impossible to devise new reading and writing initiatives to use in class. Children also have a diverse range of interests and abilities, which means keeping track of books that might appeal to them can be a real challenge.
That’s where we can help.
Start the Story has been devised by award-winning children’s authors Barry Hutchison and Tommy Donbavand. The bi-monthly digital magazine is crammed with useful information to help get children excited about reading and writing. Each issue contains several pages of writing tips and activities, lesson plans, homework tasks, book reviews and author interviews.
We have articles on everything from arranging an author visit to creating a dyslexia friendly classroom, and we lists six reading suggestions for a different genre in every issue.
Included with each magazine is a 5 page pupil workbook featuring competitions, writing activities, illustration masterclasses and more. Pupils can complete a story started by a different children’s author every issue, with the best stories winning prizes for their school.
Start the Story is aimed at teachers, librarians, parents and anyone else with an interest in increasing literacy levels in children. It’s designed to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to getting kids excited about reading and writing, and be a one-stop-shop where you’ll find dozens of ideas to enthuse and inspire your class.
A full subscription costs just £24 a year. For this you get access to our members only area where you can download the magazine every two months. Once downloaded you are free to share the magazine within the school, either online or in print. There is no limit to the number of pupil workbooks you can print out and use in class.
And that’s not all! The first 100 subscribers will be entered into a draw to win a virtual author visit from either Tommy or Barry, plus £100 of books for their school. This is a strictly limited time only offer, so subscribe now to avoid disappointment.
Still need convincing? Register as a free member and you can download issue one of Start the Story today, as well as the accompanying pupil workbook.