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National Literacy Trust launches summer school comic book initiative

Yesterday, the National Literacy Trust, supported by sustainable paper brand REY, announced the delivery of 10,000 free resource packs to year 6 and year 7 students across the country.

National Literacy Trust launches summer school comic book initiative
Jonathan Douglas: “I can’t wait to see the comic book designs created by the children.”

This forms part of the charity’s summer offer to support pupils as they transition from primary to secondary school. REY paper is contributing 150,000 sheets of paper to the initiative.

Packs with a selection of activities, paper to create their own comic, colouring pencils and a Beano comic are being sent to 180 schools in locations identified as having the strongest literacy need, including Stoke and Swindon.

Accompanying each pack is the charity’s summer writing challenge: Comics Rule!, where children will be asked to design their own comic. The creative writing activity aims at improving writing attitudes and boost literacy skills. Schools can share pupils’ comic book designs on Twitter, tagging @Literacy_Trust and #summerwritingchallenge.

Alongside the physical donations, all teaching materials and activity packs such as the summer writing challenge will be available for summer school teachers to download for free on the National Literacy Trust’s website and signposted on the Oak National Academy website. These are designed with students aged between 10 and 12 in mind.

Mike Stirling, Editorial Director at Beano Studios said: "Access to comics encourages children to enjoy reading for fun. It’s hugely satisfying to watch a reader navigate a comic for the first time - the story leaps off the page, straight into their imagination. Many teachers use Beano and our free Beano for Schools resources as their secret weapon and we’re very proud to support this amazing initiative. At a time when children are facing such challenges to their learning, teachers often tell us how beneficial it is for children to just enjoy a bit of Beano silliness, creativity and reading and writing for the fun of it.”

Antony Mackie, Country Sales Manager, UK & Ireland at International Paper (manufacturers of REY) said: “We are delighted to partner with the National Literacy Trust on this important summer school project. We want to encourage children to have fun with the writing and design of comics and allow their imaginations to run wild. The last year has been exceptionally difficult for children and there are reports that the pandemic means 200,000 year 6 students may start secondary school with low literacy. We are glad to help children in this key transitional period.”

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust said: “Summertime initiatives can help vulnerable children, improve engagement with education and ease the transition of children going from primary to secondary education. Our recent writing research showed a quarter (23%) of children who write in their free time at least once a month do so because it makes them feel happy or more confident. We know that writing has a direct link to wellbeing and there has perhaps never been a more important time to support the physical and mental health of our youngest generation.

“I can’t wait to see the comic book designs created by the children who receive the packs, whilst everyone is able to enjoy this fantastic activity online.”

The teaching resources can be found here.

The activity page for families can be found here.

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