The Big Read & Write

Cambridgeshire’s annual literacy initiative for Year 5 children. As our last event in 2018, schools from across the county were invited to bring classes to the live event at Lady Mitchell Hall in Cambridge OR join us via the live WEBCAST. The Big Read and Write welcomed Jo Cotterill, author of A Library of Lemons as the 2018 featured author.  Jo explored the concept of Empathy (our theme for 2018), sharing her storytelling tips and also launched a county-wide story writing competition for all of Cambridgeshire’s Year 5 children with a great prize for the winning author and their school!

This fantastic initiative encourages children’s love of the written word and is a collaborative project between The Kite TSA Cambridge, Cambridge Literary Festival and Cambridgeshire County Council. New to the collaboration for 2018 is Empathy Lab who’s work with schools is underpinned by research showing that relating imaginatively to book characters builds real-life empathy skills. To find out when the next Big Read and Write event will be email the-big-read-and-write-2018_postcard

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.

As ever, we will continue to create a wonderful storytelling relay at the Big Read at The Big Weekend in July 2019.  

Don’t forget to follow @bigreadandwrite on twitter to keep up with the latest Big Read and Write news!

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.

The Big Read & Write 2016
1 Mar 2016

The Big Read and Write 2016 featured author; Chris Priestley
Big Read and Write 2015
1 April 2015

Horrid Henry author, Francesca Simon shares how she creates her stories of mischief and adventure.