This annual literacy initiative is designed to encourage children’s love of the written word and is a collaborative project between The Kite TSA Cambridge, Cambridge Literary Festival and Cambridgeshire County Council.
In 2015 the first ever Big Read & Write enabled Key Stage 2 children from across Cambridgeshire to hear from and be inspired by Francesca Simon, author of the hugely popular “Horrid Henry” series of books. In 2016 our featured author Chris Priestley helped Year 5 children to see how they could use their imagination to develop creepy scenes, settings and characters for their very own stories of suspense.
Due to a problem with our venue, the March 2017 live event has sadly been cancelled. However, some exciting plans are already underway for a Big Read at The Big Weekend on 8th July and we’re already making big plans for The Big Read and Write 2018, which will kick off in September 2017.
The Big Read & Write was borne out of an idea that Rachel Snape, Head of The Kite TSA and Cathy Moore, Founder and Director of Cambridge Literary Festival developed. They both knew that the literary festival was a wonderful celebration of books and whilst the Festival provides a Children’s programme they wanted to do more to help as many children as possible to know what it felt like to hear from Authors and celebrate good books. The key to achieving this broader reach was to create a live event which could then be broadcast via a live webcast. So, since 2015 we’ve held a live event at Lady Mitchell Hall in Cambridge where around fifteen schools bring more than 400 children. Meanwhile an ever increasing number of schools across the county are able to participate remotely by watching on a big screen in their classroom or assembly hall. Furthermore we have made the experience interactive by encouraging schools to tweet (@bigreadandwrite) in questions for the author to answer during the live Q&A.
The hour long live event allows the featured author to share extracts from their books and to give a little bit of background about how they came to be a writer. They then introduce The Big Read & Write Story Writing Competition to children and build up excitement about the great prizes on offer. Finally our author goes on to a Q&A session which allows children to connect and really delve into what its like to be a writer and hear some tips and advice for success.
In 2015 and 2016 we provided teachers with a schools pack ahead of the live event so that they have a clear idea about what’s involved both on the day and with the competition. Plans for creating a professional learning offer to support children’s writing skills are in the pipeline.