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Hackney and Haringey schoolchildren work hard to develop their literacy skills

PUBLISHED: 14:28 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:40 05 May 2020

The Literacy Pirates programme gives schoolkids  a chance to showcase their literacy skills with film, podcast and poetry projects. Picture: Literacy Pirates

The Literacy Pirates programme gives schoolkids a chance to showcase their literacy skills with film, podcast and poetry projects. Picture: Literacy Pirates

Literacy Pirates

Hundreds of schoolchildren from Hackney and Haringey have been developing their literacy and filmmaking skills. They got the chance to showcase all their hard work at a red-carpet premiere before the lockdown.

Hundreds of children from primary and secondary schools in Hackney attended the red carpet premiere to watch a film pupils made and starred in. Picture:  Literacy PiratesHundreds of children from primary and secondary schools in Hackney attended the red carpet premiere to watch a film pupils made and starred in. Picture: Literacy Pirates

285 pupils from 24 schools gathered at the Rio Cinema in Dalston on March 16 with family and friends to watch the movie.

“The film project is the mid point – so we can make sure they’re motivated because it’s something big and exciting,” Carmen Nasr from the charity’s fundraising team said.

“Because there’s a tangible project at the end, it helps the children persevere.”

The Literacy Pirates project has seen school kids across both boroughs hop on board the charity’s bases or pirate ships to read with volunteers, publish their own poetry and make a film. In the final leg of the programme children will continue learning online, produce posters and create a podcast.

The film shown at Rio Cinema was called the Quest For the Golden Quill. Picture: Literacy PiratesThe film shown at Rio Cinema was called the Quest For the Golden Quill. Picture: Literacy Pirates

The film project – The Quest for the Golden Quill – was funded by housing association L&Q’s Place Makers Local grant this year. It was awarded £7,000 so 145 pupils could take part.

The Literacy Pirates charity works with pupils aged nine to 13 who are referred to the ships if they are not reaching age-related expectations for literacy or are low in confidence.

“If they don’t catch up, the gap widens, and intervention is more difficult once they get to GCSE age,” Carmen continued.

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“It’s about confidence and perseverance. There’s a real focus on positivity. Research has shown that literacy is the key to success in other parts of the curriculum.

The charity’s own impact assessments show just how successful its programmes are and on average, the reading age of a young pirate goes up 15 months in just under a year.

The ships are kitted out in a pirate theme with wooden beams, book shelves and even have a secret passage.

Joe,10, goes to the Hackney ship every Monday.

Young pirate Joe with a volunteer at the Literacy Pirates' Hackney ship. Picture: L&QYoung pirate Joe with a volunteer at the Literacy Pirates' Hackney ship. Picture: L&Q

He said: “I love coming here to make friends and it helps me learn a lot. I loved the film. It was about a pirate’s quest. Then I got to pick a handful of sweets.”

The charity was founded by a teacher in 2011, and a second ship in Haringey was added in January last year.

For more information on The Literacy Pirates visit literacypirates.org

To volunteer with The Literacy Pirates visit literacypirates.org/volunteer

Literacy pirates programmes give schoolkids a chance to develop their literacy skills. Picture:  Literacy PiratesLiteracy pirates programmes give schoolkids a chance to develop their literacy skills. Picture: Literacy Pirates

To apply for the Place Makers fund, click here.


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