Case Study: Tackling Literacy in Different Ways with Harrold Priory School

Cultural Providers: Katie Allen, Richard Mann, Mark Niel

Teacher: Paul Wildman from  Harrold Priory School

From the slogan on your t-shirt to the book on your mum’s bedside table – words are everywhere. It’s pretty easy to filter out the words that aren’t really going to fire up our imaginations like all the E numbers on that packet of sweets, but how do we help make the words that matter (words in books and poems) come alive? We were excited to be working with the kids of Harrold Priory School to give them some hints and tips…

Over the course of three weeks, a group of 12 young people worked with three of our cultural and creative providers – poet Mark Niel, actor Richard Mann, and illustrator Katie Allen – to make literature come bouncing and dancing off the page, in a ‘look at me now!’ kind of way.

Instead of skimming over loads of different material, Mark, Richard and Katie stuck to the same piece of text so that our group of young people would really get to grips with it – dig around in it, unearth bits they’d missed before, discover new meanings, and overall appreciate it for all its worth. By doing things this way, we hoped to encourage comprehension and inference amongst the young people taking part. After all, what’s that old saying our mums used to drum into us? Ah yes, ‘it’s not quantity that counts, it’s quality’.

The kids got stuck in, and their teacher, Paul Wildman noticed a real difference. He said that the young people showed great enthusiasm for the project. What’s more, as a result of the time these young people spend working with Katie, Richard and Mark, Paul felt that their understanding and confidence to interpret written texts had improved too. A great result all round!