How our Northern Ireland Authors tour helped get children reading

Published on: 07 July 2024

As our Northern Ireland Authors tour comes to an end, we look back on the impact it had on the schools we visited.

We rounded off the 23/24 BookTrust NI Author tours at the end of June.

This project showcases the best of children’s literature by bringing poets, authors and illustrators to Northern Irish schools whose pupils would not typically have access to the arts. The children taking part receive a signed book to take home, treasure and share with their families as a legacy of the project.

It’s been a fantastic year with inspirational visits from 5 different Authors to 27 schools visiting 2,086 pupils who each received their own book, and each school received a selection of books for their library.

We’ve had great white shark drawing with Sophy Henn, discovered our own superpowers with Tola Okogwu, mastered character development with Alex Falase-Koya, spotted the mythical Golden Hare with Paddy Donnelly, and drew from detailed character descriptions with Paul Howard.

Each school was brimming with creativity and talent and were left truly inspired by their visits increasing a love of both reading books and writing their own stories.

"The children were given the confidence to share their story ideas and shown ways to plan a story. Their confidence has grown, and they know that anyone can be an author or illustrator if it is something they are really interested in. Every child was so excited about being given a book and as soon as they got back to their classrooms they started to read it." - Miss Heather Lobb, Belvoir Park Primary School

"The Author Tours, supported by ACNI Lottery funding, give children in Northern Ireland access to the very best in the children’s book sector, because we know direct interactions with authors and illustrators will spark excitement and lead to more engagement with reading.

"Research tells us that children who own books develop positive attitudes to reading and are three times more likely to read for pleasure. Children who read regularly, and who choose to read, do much better on a wide range of outcomes than those who do not.

"The Author Tours create a spark of excitement around reading, but by gifting every child a signed book by the author or illustrator, they also create a legacy of continuing the reading journey at home with their families.” - Kathryn Anderson, Senior Partnerships Manager, BookTrust Northern Ireland

"Artist visits like this are a fantastic opportunity for pupils to meet a successful writer or illustrator and gain an insight into their creative process.

"Research shows that the earlier the reading experience begins with children the better the prospects for future educational and quality of life benefits.

The fact that reading is also enjoyable, inspirational, memorable, life-enhancing and, in many cases, life-changing, is an added and wonderful bonus. The Arts Council is pleased to support BookTrust NI in promoting the value of reading to young people across Northern Ireland." - Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama, Arts Council of Northern Ireland

A huge thank you to the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. With thanks to National Lottery players and money raised for good causes.

More about BookTrust Northern Ireland

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