Creativity is at the core of reading and writing, at the heart of speaking and listening. So our range of Creative Literacy programmes offers pupils opportunities to explore and experiment with words in different contexts - and appreciate how effective spelling, punctuation and grammar act as the very foundations of language and communication.
Experiential, exciting and empowering, our imaginative and cross-curricular approaches harness tried and trusted approaches from the worlds of drama, visual art and creative writing and are all rooted in the Northern Ireland Curriculum and the Curriculum for Ireland. Approaches specifically developed to support P1 - P7 / Senior Infants - 6th Class children in developing their reading and writing skills – and to boost motivation, build on existing knowledge and enhance progression.
Our workshops include in-person sessions, as well as live streamed workshops beamed straight into your classroom and are a perfect way to celebrate World Book Day, World Poetry Day and Shakespeare Week in your school!
The Great Character Hunt! (P1 - P7 / Senior Infants - 6th Class)
The great characters of fiction leap off the pages of the books they inhabit and into our imaginations because their authors have taken the trouble to breathe life into them, creating fully rounded beings. And now your pupils will get the chance to do that too, in our new programme, The Great Character Hunt – developed to coincide with World Book Day 2022!
In a lively whole-school assembly, children will meet The Mighty Pen a writer with plenty of wonderful ideas for stories - but no characters to put in them! The Pen, will, though, introduce your pupils to some archetypes – and challenge classes, a year group at a time, to take part in workshops designed to transform those archetypes into all-encompassing characters.
P1 will muse over The Magician – and what it is that magicians love to do …
P2 will have a look at The Hero – and what heroes do when they’re not being heroic!
P3 will investigate The Villain – just where do villains hatch their plans?
P4 will shed light on the Lover - do lovers always have to be so soppy?
P5 will consider The Clown – and what makes them laugh!
P6 will analyse The Athlete – and where their competitive spirit comes from …
P7 will go into The Geek – what do they want most in the world?
The Great Character Hunt can accommodate the whole of up to a two-form entry school in a single day – and is available as both an in-person and a live streamed experience. And every school booking The Great Character Hunt will receive a free digital download of follow-up ideas and resources.
Spotlight on Shakespeare (P1 - P7 / Senior Infants - 6th Class) (also available as live-streamed)
Our passion for Shakespeare shines through in our exciting and highly participatory workshops - suitable even for very young children. And, lending pupils our “actor’s eye view” of the plays, our workshops see them up on their feet, telling the story of your chosen play themselves, through a series of carefully structured drama activities. Never afraid to dive into the original text, we explore the backstories of Shakespeare’s characters, how those characters drive his plots - and how all the different elements join together.
Our Shakespeare programmes will this year also be available as live, streamed workshops, making sure that pupils can still learn about and enjoy Shakespeare’s plays – even in this “winter of discontent”. Offering a uniquely “actor’s eye view”, the approaches adopted in Streaming Shakespeare work with any of the texts, exploring a play’s backstory, key themes and principal players. These workshops can last between 30 and 90-minutes, depending on the number of classes you would like to take part - and, in longer sessions, pupils can be introduced to a framework and technique for writing poems about their favourite characters!
Choose from …
Introducing Shakespeare: The ideal way for your students to begin to get to know both the man and his works, Introducing Shakespeare gives an actor's perspective on the writer and the writing
Spotlight on Shakespeare: This experiential and highly active workshop sees pupils being introduced to a number of drama activities and approaches as we take them right through the play, exploring the backstory, meeting the main characters and bringing key moments to life.
Teacher CPD - Top Tips for Shakespeare: Our hugely successful Shakespeare CPD events for teachers take active approaches to exploring ways of working with the Bard with children of all ages. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more – or to book an event at your own school.
Book Day Assemblies
Assemblies are a great way, of course, of launching your Book Week celebrations - and ours are guaranteed to create a buzz about reading! So while both Bookman and Paige Turner comes complete with their own assembly, we're happy to lead whole-school assemblies at the start of a day of any of the programmes listed below - and all at no extra cost!
A Visit from Bookman - Character Visit (P1 - P7 / Senior Infants - 6th Class) (also available as live-streamed)
The world’s newest superhero, Bookman has the extraordinary power of bringing stories to life – and he'll fly into your school all set to help your pupils in doing the same. Armed just with his trusty Book Bag, he'll make an unexpected appearance at an assembly before leading classes through a series of exciting, engaging and enticing drama-based workshops (all differentiated for age). And the outcomes? Connection-making, Freeze-Frames and Talking Tableaux, illustrating key narrative moments from a host of well-loved stories!
"The visit was amazing, Jay (Bookman!) was a fabulous start to the day with his assembly, which really caught the kids' imagination. I had staff coming to tell me they were shocked when he burst forth from the cupboard and surprised the hall. He was brilliant - and I'm especially impressed that he managed to work with children ranging from reception to Year 6s and entertained them all. It's created a great buzz around the school about reading which is brilliant in the week of world book day." (Jeavons Wood Primary)
Paige Turner's Fiction Mission - Character Workshop (P1 - P7 / Senior Infants - 6th Class)
If the characters in our favourite stories only come to life when their tales are read, what would become of them if Mr Noah Magination got his way and had all books banned? Paige Turner is on a mission to save the fictional worlds that these characters live in and she’s going to need your pupils’ help. After introducing herself at a whole-school assembly, she’ll work with a number of classes, using age-differentiated drama approaches to bring some of their favourite characters to life, exploring what it is that makes them so wonderful and what we would stand to lose if we never had the chance to meet them in the first place. This is her only hope winning over Mr Magination and guaranteeing the survival of books and stories for future generations - and that hope lies in you!
Scrambled Stories: The Return of Bookman/Paige Turner (P1 - P7 / Senior Infants - 6th Class)
Already enjoyed A Visit from Bookman or Paige Turner? Well, now you can now invite them back with Scrambled Stories! … Your favourite book lover has a new problem this year – because their archenemy has managed to wreck some of the world’s best loved stories by changing tiny details. Imagine how dull the tale of Red Riding Hood would be if the Wolf had turned vegetarian - or how boring Jack and the Beanstalk would become if Jack didn’t get his hands on the magic beans! It’s up to your pupils to save the day, by inserting themselves into the stories and putting them back on track!
Poetry Assemblies for Schools (also available as live-streamed)
Assemblies are a great way, of course, of launching your National Poetry Day celebrations - and ours are guaranteed to create a real buzz about the wonder of words! So we're happy to lead whole-school poetry assemblies at the start of a day of any of our poetry workshops, sharing some of our favourite verses and providing opportunities for pupils to join in - and all at no extra cost!
A Celebration in Rhyme (P1 - P7 / Senior Infants - 6th Class)
Working with up to 420 children to create and perform a School Poem in just one day!
A Celebration in Rhyme proved so popular last year that we’ve brought it back, bigger and better than ever, for 2021! Developed to support your pupils to use (in using?) verse to celebrate the stories they love, its unique approach allows every single class to contribute to writing and performing a collaborative School Poem in just one day!
Soundscape Poetry (P1 - P7 / Senior Infants - 6th Class)
Those pupils who claim they don’t like poetry will be writing furiously at the end of this magical poetry workshop. Realising the power of “sound”, they’ll design and perform two contrasting soundscapes, working to topics/themes of your choice. We’ll then guide them through a structure supporting them in crafting richly descriptive poems that tell both individual and collective stories in which the "truth" can change with time or place.
“The poems look amazing and I am really excited to send these home with the children who took part in the workshop. The day was a huge success and all of the pupils have commented how fantastic it was. Similarly, the teachers really enjoyed the CPD. Thank you again for such a wonderful experience.” Mapledene School
Personification Poetry (also available as live-streamed)
What would the world look like from the point of view of a Roman Legion’s eagle figurehead? How would it sound to the gravestone that William trips over at the start of “Goodnight Mr Tom”? What would be the memories of Stonehenge? And what might the clock on your classroom wall dream of as it gazes down on all the learning below? This highly imaginative and interactive workshop allows children to harvest the fruits of both their own and their classmates’ imaginations as they explore notions of empathy to construct some uniquely moving poetry. Longer workshops will see them gaining experience in presentation skills as we support them in exploring the most effective ways to deliver their poems vocally.
The Poet-Tree (also available as live-streamed)
From tiny acorns … great verses grow …
Every tree starts as a seed – a seed that germinates and flourishes. And every poem starts with an idea – an idea that finds its form in words. In both cases, the journey to fruition is an organic one. And while neither topiarist nor poet can know what the final outcome will be until it’s there in all it’s glory, they both shape and prune their creations carefully.
This enchanting workshop supports children and young people in appreciating how a poem evolves from the pen of its writer – and offers them scaffolds allowing ideas and words to take root and grow. We’ll provide them with stimuli to start the process off, enable them to think structurally as they begin to piece their poems together – and emphasise the role that “choice” plays in poetry as they select the words, phrases, similes, metaphors and personifications that best suit their needs.
CSI: Reading Skills (also available as live-streamed)
Pupils who tell us they don’t like “reading” are always amazed when they realise quite how much skilful reading they’ve accomplished by the end of this fun and busy workshop. From inference and deduction to skimming and scanning, from previewing to predicting and from context to content, CSI: Reading Skills makes no bones in drawing connections between the everyday skills required to interpret infographics and play computer games and those required to delve into more formal texts.
Specifically designed to support pupils in making those connections between different ways of “reading”, CSI: Reading Skills sees them working in small teams to help out in a time of national emergency – because a briefcase containing some Top Secret plans was discovered on the 8.42 to Little Padworth, destined for an Enemy Power. The only clues to the identity of the traitor are to be found in a pile of old train tickets, recipe, book reviews and faded photographs. If “read” correctly, however, they’ll allow the pupils to discover who took the plans and why. P1 - P3 pupils will travel to Storyland and use their reading skills to work out who it is that's been sending secret messages to the Big Bad Wolf!
"The students, particularly those who don't normally enjoy reading, found a new way to look at stories. They also loved the active trail which was part of the families session." St Peter's Catholic Primary School
CSI: Bookmark (also available as live-streamed)
The Book Review Competition at Little Podmore Library received record entries this year – but someone snuck in before judging was complete, and jumbled up all the entries! In a series of age-differentiated workshops, we’ll be asking your children to indulge in a frenzy of connection-making, using their knowledge of a range of well-loved tales to make sense of it all!
Family Literacy (add-on session at the end of the day)
We all know how much family support benefits children's learning. So, our Family Literacy workshops have been specifically developed to gain and cement that support by offering a fun and friendly environment in which parents/carers work alongside their children on activities designed to highlight the joys to be found in books and stories! And, by tackling our Best Books Trail, they'll discover just how much they actually know about the wonderful characters that only exist in their pages! Carefully structured drama activities will support participants to further explore some of these and choral speaking reminds all involved of the playful pleasure in the spoken word.
Family Literacy workshops are available in a range of formats - but if you book one at the end of a day of workshops with pupils, we'll be happy to offer you a healthy discount!
"The families loved the after-school workshop (Literacy Trail), enjoying time with their children." St Peter's Catholic Primary School
Find out more
View our full range of World Book Day workshops here
View our full range of Poetry workshops here