Doncaster Children’s University and the National Literacy trust have been encouraging children in schools across Doncaster to take part in an interactive reading journey. Over 40 local schools are taking part in the ‘Doncaster Reading Miles’ challenge in which children are provided with an illustrated map of Doncaster, and are able to earn stickers and mark off local landmarks the more they read. Children are supported in reading anything that inspired them be that a factional story, a non-fiction book, or even a comic.
The colourful map that students follow was developed by Doncaster Stories Project Officer, Phil Sheppard, who told the National Literary trust “We know how important it is to get children reading for pleasure, so I’m thrilled to have developed Doncaster’s first reading miles challenge. By taking part, local children will get to explore our town in a new way and get lost in the magical world of books. I can’t wait to hear how many miles they’ll travel.”
The partnership between the Doncaster College based Children’s University, and the National Literacy Trust was formed by Marie Leadbitter at Doncaster Opportunity Area, and the project was led by Phil Sheppard, Doncaster College Curriculum Performance and Development Manager Janine Ryan, and Doncaster Children’s University Project Coordinator Liane Clark. Liane commented “Children’s University are passionate about supporting children’s educational achievement. During the recent lockdowns schools across Doncaster raised concern about a decline in reading. We linked up with the National Literacy Trust to provide a fun and creative way to encourage children to read. It has been wonderful to hear such positive responses from teaching staff and children across our Doncaster schools.”
The project has been a huge success so far and has received fantastic feedback from schools, expressing how much the children are loving the challenge. Mrs Gibson, the senior leader at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School said “The first week of the reading miles challenge has gone really well. Children throughout key stage two have been enthusiastic and engaged with the project and have enjoyed filling out their map with stickers, to begin their journey across Doncaster.”
While Mr Metcalfe, the head teacher at Sandringham Primary School expressed his appreciation of the project, saying “We are delighted to be working with Children’s University and the National Literacy Trust to promote children’s reading. The Doncaster Reading Miles Challenge is helping us to emphasise the importance of regular reading in a fun and engaging way. Their support for this essential life skill is helping us to promote children’s love of books and we are grateful for their involvement.”
The engagement in the Reading Miles project has been extremely positive and there are plans to extend the project to more schools in the coming weeks.