The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation held a variety of storytelling workshops in June with the help of the Chickenshed theatre company to celebrate the delivery of a 10-week literacy programme in Barnet schools. The workshops were held at Woodcroft Primary School, Edgware.
As part of the 2008 National Year of Reading, the Foundation received funding to deliver a storytelling programme and multi-skills after-school club in four Barnet schools. The scheme started in March and ran successfully for 10 weeks. With the scheme being completely free of charge, it has allowed up to 32 key stage 1 children from each school to benefit.
The storytelling programme aims to improve literacy levels, as well as produce an increased interest in reading. Sessions are an hour long and require interaction from pupils, introducing children to different books and developing their self-confidence.
The programme has allowed children to use their imagination by making up their own stories and contributing to stories told to the class, reading aloud to the class, finding stories in poems, and making and completing two folktale treasure hunts. In some cases this has led to a huge increase in speaking in front of their peers as well as a lot of enjoyment and enthusiasm for reading books.
The hour-long multi-skills club at the end of the storytelling sessions rewards children for their hard work in the classroom by introducing them to new skills and games. An element of competition against themselves and others has motivated the children to constantly improve themselves and achieve. Benefits include an increase in physical activity and a healthier lifestyle for each child. Sports include football, cricket, netball, basketball, rounders, hockey and badminton.
Following the 10-week programme, the participating schools will have the opportunity to send all teachers on an award scheme and receive lesson plans to ensure they can continue the programme. Exit routes have been provided by the advertisement of the evening sessions run by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation at Burnt Oak Leisure Centre.