A new literacy project aimed at supporting and enhancing reading, writing and creativity in small rural primary schools in Shropshire has been hailed a success.
The Rural Schools Write, Read, Inspire Project has been developed by Shropshire children’s author Lorna McCann in partnership with The Rural Charity – an offshoot of the Shropshire & West Midlands Agricultural Society.
The initiative involved Lorna visiting five different primary schools across the county during Indie Author Week UK (June 9th to June 16th) to deliver fully-funded author visits and workshops to pupils aged 4 to 9.
As well as enhancing literacy skills and encouraging children to enjoy reading and writing, the project aims to build stronger links between schools, businesses and charities.
Schools were asked to apply for a place on the project, funded by The Rural Charity, and those taking part were St Lawrence CE Primary School in Preston on the Weald Moors; Lydbury North CE Primary School; St George’s CE Primary School in Clun; Brynhafren County Primary School in Crew Green and Rushbury CE Primary School in Church Stretton.
As part of the initiative, Lorna, Amazon bestselling author of ‘Wendy and the Biscuit Tree’ and ‘Felix – the small boy with a BIG imagination’, talked to pupils about her writing career from journalist to children’s author.
Youngsters also enjoyed storytelling sessions and learned about the processes involved with writing and publishing a book. They made characters from the authors books, enjoyed role play sessions and dressing up and used their imaginations to design and create their own book front-covers.
The 37-year-old writer, said: “The project has been a huge success. There has been so much energy and excitement from the children about reading and writing. They have been inspired to create their own stories and book covers and I’ve been blown away with their creativity and enthusiasm.
“It’s been a fantastic week all round and feedback from the teachers involved has been brilliant.
“We are now looking at the possibility of making The Rural Schools Write, Read, Inspire Project an annual event so we can involve lots more schools.
“We know for many small schools shrinking budgets make it difficult to fund outside visitors such as authors. However, this initiative is all about overcoming those challenges and giving pupils in our rural schools opportunities and experiences they might not otherwise get.”
Ian Bebbington, Chief Executive of The Rural Charity, which is based at the Greenhous West Mid Showground in Shrewsbury, said: “The Rural Schools Write, Read, Inspire Project has been a fabulous initiative bringing real tangible benefits to children in rural communities.
“Literacy is high on the agenda in all schools but particularly at primary level and an author visit can bring so many benefits to pupils including improving literacy, inspiring reluctant readers, building confidence and broadening knowledge of literacy.
“We will be evaluating the overall outcomes of the project and would love to provide this opportunity for schools again next year.”
For further details about the project visit the website www.lornamccannauthor.co.uk.