We’d like to share a curated list of literacy resources for parents, guardians and families to explore together, compiled by Man Booker longlisted and Cornwall-based writer, Wyl Menmuir.
January 2021 and the country is back in lockdown. Now, it’s all about a return to staying home, staying safe and… home schooling and distance learning for those with children and young people in your care. Maybe you’re looking for some creative opportunities to provide enriching learning experiences for them whilst give them space to be creative and to enjoy being children.
Here at Literature Works, we are fortunate to have a brilliant network of writers, partners and friends in our vibrant literature community. It’s been amazing to see the wealth of inventive content that has made available online – the many opportunities and resources that bring the joy of words and stories into our homes. Thank you Wyl, here they are –
1. The National Literacy Trust’s ‘Family Zone’ a range of age-appropriate activities and videos. Wyl says “the thing that caught my eye about this one was the ‘Newswise Navigator’, helping children make sense of the news.”
2. Wyl says: “The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education offers fantastic free resources around reading for pleasure, engaging kids with poetry, using picture books and getting the most out of high quality texts.”
3. Authorfy’s free author videos and resources. Wyl says: “you’ll need to create an account for this one, but you get access to content from Michael Morpurgo, Katharine Rundell, A.F. Harrold, Emma Carroll Joseph Coelho and Nicola Davies.”
4. The Reading Agency has a huge bank of resources videos, reading guides and ideas for running book groups. Wyl says “check out book intros by writers like Michael Rosen”.
5. “Book Riot has a list of the best podcasts about books for children and for adults who want to know more,” says Wyl.
6. Many children’s authors are offering free online sessions including Oliver Jeffers Chris Haughton. Find out more here.
7. If you’ve got older children and young adults in your family, check out Toby Litt’s ‘Writing & Shit’ series. Wyl says it’s also great if you’ve got your own writing you want to develop.
8. Writer Jonna Nadin wll be reading a story a day from her Penny Dreadful series of books for young readers on her Youtube channel.
9. Wyl says it’s important to remember your own reading and the need to take a break. Getting involved in an online book group can be a great way to do this. Writer Robert Macfarlane has just set one up and the first read is Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain search hashtag #CoReadiingVirus. Andy Miller (The Year of Reading Dangerously) is also setting up a virtual book group (details coming soon).
11. Here’s a tip from Wyl, if you’re reading a book with your children and use Twitter, try searching for the author there. Most authors are happy to be tweeted and children may get a reply which can add another layer to the reading experience.
12. Top offline tip from Wyl: consider reading aloud to your children even (and perhaps especially) the older ones. This is something you can share, which is outside of the news and takes you away for a while.
13. First News is a great way of making sure that your children are up to date with the news, but that they don’t feel overlohttps://www.firstnews.co.uk/aded. It’s a weekly newspaper for young people and you can try it out for £1 for three issues.
14. Writing alongside your child can be a way to share a learning experience for both of you. Let your child see you writing, let them write their story. Talk to each other about what works and what doesn’t. This also applies for reading: read together, discuss the story and start conversations.
15. The Arvon Foundation has a range of child friendly writing prompts and exercises to keep your young writers busy.
16. If you’d like to engage in a writing exercise whilst your young writers are busy with theirs, Arvon is also running a free five-day short story challenge, run by writer Tania Hershman. Each day a writing prompt will be email to you.
17. If you’d like to read some poetry aloud with your children, check out the Poetry Archive’s Children’s Archive which features a range of poems from poets such as Benjamin Zephaniah, Roger Mcgough Jacob Sam La-Rose and John Agard to name a few.
18. Wyl has been reliably informed by Michael Rosen himself that there are 48 hours worth of kids’ poetry on his Youtube channel.
19. Sometimes looking at the pictures in a book can open up whole new conversations. The official World Book Day illustrator Rob Biddulph draw-along videos on his Twitter feed. Follow the hashtag #DrawWithRob.
20. Crammed full of useful book content, Love My Books features top 10s, books by age group and by theme, plus it’s full of advice for helping your children with reading.
21. The Poetry Society have some fantastic resources for teaching children from Early Years through to Key Stage 5 on a range of poets and poetry.
22. After hints and tips on reading and writing as a family? BookTrust have a huge range of information available.
23. To end the list, check out the range of audiobooks and podcasts available. Audible have just opened a free collection of audiobooks from literary classics to works in translations, so why not listen to some stories today.
We hope you’ll agree that there’s plenty here to keep you busy with your young readers and writers and some excellent advice for adult readers and writers too. With thanks to Wyl Menmuir for sharing this list. To see the original links and to get involved with the Twitter accounts Wyl has suggested alongside these posts, view the original thread here.
Enjoy reading, writing, creating and learning.