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A SCHEME to get more of Bradford’s young people engaged in writing and poetry by providing literary role models is helping turn reluctant writers into budding bards.
The National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford was set up to deal with the large numbers of young people in the city who left school with poor skills in reading and writing.
The trust recognised that one issue facing the district was the high number of boys who had poor literacy skills, many of whom seemed reluctant to pick up a book. Several schools in the district were identified as having a “significant gender gap” when it came to reading.
One way the trust has tried to reverse this trend is by providing boys with male role models, such as sports stars and local writers, who enjoy reading, and by encouraging fathers and male family members to get more engaged in children’s reading.
Bradford Council will be given an update on the progress of the project, which began in 2014 and will run until the end of 2016, at a meeting this afternoon. A report being presented to the council will say schools that have been involved in the hub have seen noticeable improvement in pupils’ reading.
Yesterday, hub manager Imran Hafeez visited pupils at Horton Park Primary School to take part in poetry sessions as part of the project.
Mr Hafeez has also visited schools with local poet Saju Iqbal Ahmed.
It is part of a resource pack for schools called ‘Our Stories’ which has already been rolled out in several schools. And boys have been encouraged to start reading classical poets like Shakespeare and Chaucer through to more contemporary poets like Tupac.
After these initial sessions, teachers from Dixons Allerton Academy, University Academy Keighley, Hanson Primary School and Horton Park Primary School have already reported a rise in enthusiasm for poetry among pupils who are reluctant writers.
Mr Hafeez said: “We’re thrilled by the positive response we’ve already had from schools for this programme which aims to make poetry accessible, fun and inclusive for pupils of all abilities. Introducing drawing, games, music and museums and galleries as prompts to spark ideas really helps children tap into their creativity and explore their identity through the written and spoken word.
“Collaboration and performance is key, so we’re delighted children are sharing their work with such enthusiasm.”
Year 5 and Year 6 teacher at Horton Park Primary School, Shahnaz Bi said: “Poetry is great for stimulating creativity and enhancing vocabulary, so this programme really appealed. It offers a plenty of inspiration, including local role models which children can relate to, cultural experiences and the opportunity for students to enjoy collaborating and performing. We’re looking forward to seeing their communication skills develop.”