Peterborough Reads and REY® paper launch summertime comic book initiative to help children catch up

A child reading a book. Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Submitted by National Literacy Trust

Peterborough Reads and sustainable paper brand REY paper announce the delivery of 885 resource packs to Years 5 – 7 students in Peterborough, in Northamptonshire.

Peterborough Reads is a Peterborough Council, Vivacity, and National Literacy Trust partnership inspiring families across the city to read together, and helps parents to support their children’s literacy skills – this initiative forms part of the charity’s summer offer to support students as they transition from primary to secondary school. REY paper is contributing 150,000 sheets of paper to the initiative.

Packs with a selection of activities, all the REY paper that children need to create their own comic, colouring pencils, and a free Beano comic are being sent to fifteen schools in Peterborough – with over 10,000 packs being donated nationwide.

Accompanying each pack is the National Literacy Trust’s summer writing challenge: Comics Rule, where children will be asked to design their own comic. The creative writing activity hopes to improve writing attitudes and boost literacy skills.

Peterborough Reads Summer Writing Challenge

Peterborough schools can share students’ comic book designs on Twitter, tagging @Literacy_Trust as well as @PeterboroughReads and #summerwritingchallenge.

Alongside the physical donations, all teaching materials and activity packs such as the summer writing challenge will be able for summer school teachers and children to download for free on the National Literacy Trust’s Words for Life website and signposted on the Oak National Academy website. These are designed with students aged between 10 and 12 in mind.

Antony Mackie, country sales manager, UK, and Ireland at International Paper (manufacturers of REY) said: “We are delighted to partner with the National Literacy Trust on this important summer school project. We want to encourage children to have fun with the writing and design of comics and allow their imaginations to run wild.

“The last year has been exceptionally difficult for children and there are reports that the pandemic means 200,000 Year 6 students may start secondary school with low literacy. We are glad to help children in Peterborough during this key transitional period.”

Peterborough Reads Summer Writing Challenge

Sally Atkinson, manager of Peterborough Reads Hub, said: “We’re so thankful for REY paper for supporting the National Literacy Trust’s summertime initiative here in Peterborough. We know these types of projects can help the transition of children going from primary to secondary education.

“The National Literacy Trust’s recent writing research showed a quarter (23 per cent) of children who write in their free time at least once a month do so because it makes them feel happy or more confident. Writing has a proven link to children’s wellbeing and there couldn’t be a more important time to support the health of our children and young people.

“I’ll be keeping an eye out for the fabulous comic book designs created by Peterborough children who receive the packs. For parents and families looking for summer activities, everyone is able to enjoy this brilliant activity online.”

Mike Stirling, editorial director at Beano Studios said: “Access to comics encourages children to enjoy reading for fun. It’s hugely satisfying to watch a reader navigate a comic for the first time – the story leaps off the page, straight into their imagination.

“Many teachers use Beano and our free Beano for Schools resources as their secret weapon and we’re very proud to support this amazing initiative. At a time when children are facing such challenges to their learning, teachers often tell us how beneficial it is for children to just enjoy a bit of Beano silliness, creativity, and reading and writing for the fun of it.”

The Words for Life activity page can be accessed here.

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