How Story Hunters makes a difference: 'There's a real buzz'
Published on: 09 May 2017 Author: Sarah Woolley
Sarah Woolley, Class 3 Teacher at Anson CE (A) Primary in Staffordshire, tells us how BookTrust's Story Hunters programme has supported struggling readers in her school.
1. I've seen a real improvement in children's reading habits
Discovering the Story Hunters programme has been fantastic for our school. Before signing up, we had a group of children who weren't meeting their reading targets for a number of different reasons. Since using the packs, though, the children thoroughly enjoy sitting down with a book and I've really seen a great improvement, with some children now reading at age-related expectations.
Children now have a passion for reading which they share with their family at home, too. Having that support at home, which they didn't necessarily have before, has made a huge difference to their enjoyment of reading.
2. It's great value for money
There's a great mix of items in the packs - and so much! Each child is guaranteed to receive over ten books, which have been selected by an expert panel to support struggling readers. Not only that, but there are fun stickers, pencil cases and high quality pens and stationery too.
The packs also come with activities and posters based on the books, which definitely helped the children bring them to life and be creative. My students particularly enjoyed the interactive book - they were able to draw inside it and come up with their own story.
3. There's a real buzz in the classroom
The children are so excited to open their Story Hunters packs. They feel incredibly special and grateful that they receive some amazing books every month! They are constantly talking about when they're going to receive their next books - they just can't wait.
It's so important for us to make sure that reading is seen as fun by the children as that's what really encourages them to pick up a book. As I say, they love the interactive books; one child even told me that in the instructions she was allowed to rip a page out of her book (although she couldn't bring herself to do it as the book was so precious to her!)
4. I feel like I'm making a real difference
Handing out the parcels to the children is such a rewarding part of my job. To be able to give the gift of books to young people who struggle to read, or who don't have access to books at home, is something really special that I wish all schools had the opportunity to do.
The wonderful thing about this programme is that each child feels valued and special. When they receive the parcels with their names on them, their faces light up instantly.
The children in my class couldn't wait to share and read their books together; it was as though they belonged to a special club with reading at the heart of it.
5. The children are so proud to own something
I cannot begin to describe the impact these parcels have had on the children's enjoyment of reading. Children who didn't enjoy it in September are now walking into my classroom with two or three books in their hands - they cannot wait to sit down and read. The children have taken such pride in their books and always bring them into school to discuss with myself and their peers.
Thank you, BookTrust - this is an amazing programme and we shall definitely be investing in it again this year!
Story Hunters is designed to support struggling or reluctant Year 4 readers. It is a great way to encourage pupils to enjoy reading with their families.
Once registered each pupil will receive six personalised packs full of books, stationery and activities to take home and keep. The packs will arrive so you can give them out monthly, from October to March. It costs £99 per child.