17 June 2021 Share
Cheltenham Festivals has announced that its Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils (RTRP) network of teachers’ reading groups inspiring children to love reading will cover the whole of Great Britain for the first time.
In just five years RTRP has gone from strength to strength, creating communities of reading teachers that have in turn ignited a passion for reading in almost 16,000 children. The Festival has galvanised leading literacy organisations to work in collaboration behind this ground-breaking scheme, extending the network of free teachers’ reading groups across the country.
The final four strategic partners for regional hubs are The Story Museum (South East), English and Media Centre (Central London), Books Council of Wales (South East Wales) and Wigtown Book Festival (South West Scotland).
They complete a list of 12 partners, also including: Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (London), Just Imagine (East), Peters (West Midlands), Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books (North East), The Reader (North West), Bradford Literature Festival (Yorkshire and Humberside), KEAP, The Writers’ Block (South West) and National Literacy Trust (East Midlands).
In addition, for the first time, anyone across the UK will be able to set up their own RTRP group, with a new bank of digital resources available to all.
The inaugural Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils Conference will take place within the Literature for Schools programme of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on 12 October, supporting teachers in bringing books to life in their classroom and invigorating a reading for pleasure culture.
An unmissable line-up of authors and literacy experts include SLA Patron Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Jake Hope, Dr Fiona Maine, Onjali Q Rauf, Katherine Rundell, Chris Vick and Dr Alison Waller as well as representatives from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, the English and Media Centre and Farshore.
The project is rooted in the irrefutable evidence about the positive impact of reading for pleasure on life chances – research shows that it is the biggest single indicator of a child’s future success. Teachers are hugely influential on pupils’ reading habits, and RTRP gives them the time and space to share children’s literature with a view to engendering a joy of reading and the rich teaching of literacy. Teachers meet throughout the year to discuss an expertly curated selection of recently published and classic titles before taking them into the classroom to share with children.
Ali Mawle, Director of Learning and Public Engagement for Cheltenham Festivals, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with such a fantastic collection of literacy organisations and individuals across England, Wales and Scotland on a project that is so close to Cheltenham Festivals’ heart. The impact that this special collaboration of industry leaders will bring in helping inspire a love of reading in children across the UK is extremely exciting, and we look forward to seeing this programme continue to grow.’
Frank Cottrell-Boyce said: ‘I believe pleasure is the most profound form of attention. Pleasure anchors an idea in your mind and keeps it there until it finds purpose and fullness. Reading for pleasure of course is an invaluable aid to educational success but much more importantly it helps build resilience and the habit of finding happiness. You cannot teach pleasure. You can only share it. I’m constantly surprised and humbled how often in adult life I have drawn on the stores of joy and insight which were laid down in my brain by teachers who shared such moments with us. I know it’s harder than ever to find space in the curriculum to do that now. But it’s also more urgent than ever.’
Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils is supported by Arts Council England, Thirty Percy, the Summerfield Charitable Trust and the Unwin Charitable Trust. Cheltenham Festivals has also announced a new partnership with Peters as official school book supplier for its Literature for Schools and Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils programmes.