All your questions answered
Story Hunters is based on the award-winning Letterbox Club model, which BookTrust manages in partnership with the University of Leicester.
This programme has been incredibly effective in improving the educational outcomes of children in care, using the same system of giving out regular book and activity packs.
Following fantastic feedback and requests from schools, we thought a similar model could support other groups of children.
Story Hunters was initially piloted with 320 Year 4 children across 16 schools in 2016. These schools predominantly selected children who were eligible for free school meals, as well as struggling or reluctant readers.
An independent panel of experts have selected the books. This panel includes teachers, librarians, book buyers and other children's book experts.
They aim to select the best-written, illustrated and designed books for Year 4 children.
We first invite a range of publishers to submit the titles they think would be appropriate for Story Hunters. We then whittle these down to a long list of approximately 80 books for our selection panel to consider.
The panel read all the books, before coming together and selecting a final list that reflects a variety of genres, styles and levels.
This includes books that will capture a child's interest and stimulate a dialogue with their parents, but which can also be enjoyed independently. The panel also try to select books that reflect the diversity of life in Britain.
Some titles from previous years might be reselected if they have proven to be highly popular.
When you register for Story Hunters, you are committing to take part in the programme and pay the amount stated during the registration process.
The cost per child is £99 (including VAT). Schools can use pupil premium to fund Story Hunters.
If you would like to arrange payment for Story Hunters 2017, please contact the Story Hunters team.
If your school requires a purchase order, you will need to make this clear at the point of registration.
You can let us know when your school wishes to make payment, but the full amount is required by the end of the programme (31 March 2018).
We recommend that each school monitors the impact Story Hunters has on participating children and families. We will provide template surveys to use before and after the children receive their Story Hunters packs. Alternatively, you may want to adapt these or use your own.
The surveys aim to find out how children and parents/carers feel about reading and learning at home - and whether this has changed after taking part in Story Hunters.
Many schools also choose to monitor children's targeted reading levels before and after participation in Story Hunters (based on measures in place in the absence of curriculum levels).
Story Hunters is designed to increase participating children's confidence and engagement with reading, which has been shown to lead to higher levels of academic attainment.
Story Hunters was initially piloted with 320 year 4 children across 16 schools. For more information about the pilot, get in touch at email@example.com. You can also read some of the feedback we received.
Each school will decide which Year 4 children they enrol in Story Hunters, and why.
Some schools have not had to address this, but others have suggested the following measures and approaches:
- 'We give out the packs discreetly to the children involved.'
- 'Packs are given out from school to parents, usually without the children knowing, so they think they have been delivered to them personally. The children love this and it's a great way to talk to parents.'
- 'It is explained as being another pupil premium intervention opportunity.'
- 'I give the parcels to the parents with the template letter. This then stops questions being asked from other children.'
- 'We post the parcels to the children at their home address.'
Story Hunters is a great way to encourage Year 4 children to enjoy reading with their families. As well as the books, activities, stationery and letters, participating schools will also receive:
- a series of template letters, to support parents to engage with the programme
- a parent/carer session outline, which could be held at your school
- some top tips and activity ideas for parents of participating children.
Some schools choose to give the packs to parents or carers, to encourage home-school links and get families excited about the programme.
We recommend that Story Hunters is delivered from October to March each year. This timeframe supports early intervention in the school term. New books are selected for the programme each year, and accompanying materials are produced for the October to March delivery timeframe. Therefore, we are unable to be flexible with delivery.
However, if you have only just missed the deadline (which closes on 29 September), we might be able to help. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BookTrust is the leading reading charity in the UK. We work to inspire a love of reading in children because we know that reading transforms lives.
We recognise that reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on educational outcomes, wellbeing and social mobility of children - as well as being a huge pleasure in itself.
We are committed to starting children on their reading journey and supporting them to develop a lifelong reading habit.
Story Hunters is our reading adventure for Year 4 children, designed especially to help struggling or reluctant readers. To encourage a love of reading, each pupil will get their own monthly pack of books and activities over a six-month period.
Learn more about our range of projects and campaigns, designed to help people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy reading and writing.