A ' wicked' way to use Live Literature Funding

Through Scottish Book Trust, schools and other organisations can apply for funding to bring writers, storytellers and illustrators in to work with their learners. Have a look and see what St. Mary's Primary in Largs did with the funding!

In January St. Mary's Parent Council applied to Scottish Book Trust for Live Literature funding. We were delighted when our application was successful and our ‘Wicked’ event took place in November over two days. St. Mary's Primary School has been involved in a two-year programme to improve literacy and to stimulate children’s interest in reading and writing skills. Our event was called ‘Wicked’ and marked the start of our anti-bullying campaign which the children take part in every year. 

On Wednesday 2nd Nov local author Evelyn Hood arrived for a day of interactive storytelling, story building, writing letters and poems.  Evelyn very kindly wrote a story especially for the children in St. Mary's school called ‘Say Something Nice’. The children were very responsive when asked questions, and were very aware that it is important to ‘say something nice’ to each other and also if someone isn’t very nice to you, then you can tell a teacher, your mum or dad. Some of the children also said that, ‘I just turn my head away and get on with what I'm doing.’ When asked if you could find one word to explain ‘say something nice’ one pupil in P2 said,That's a compliment’.

Evelyn said, ‘I found the teachers supportive and all the children interested, entertaining, and actively willing, even the youngest, in taking part in the process of creating stories’.

The event continued on the following day with the author Cathy MacPhail. This time it was the turn of our Primary 4-7 pupils. Cathy gave the children the first line and asked them to explore the possibilities of the story. This set all our imaginations afire. The skills learned in the workshops were put to great use: descriptive action, cliff hangers, suspense, humour and where to get the all-important ideas.

Cathy raffled one of her books at each workshop. The lucky winners beamed from ear to ear and we have been told, on good authority, that they went home and got stuck in that very evening - even some of our reluctant readers!

Cathy also introduced us to the adventures of Tyler Lawless and donated a signed copy of Out of the Depths to the school - even before it had been officially launched!

Responding to demand from the pupils, the school library now boasts another twenty Cathy MacPhail books, purchased by the Parent Council.

Some comments from the children:

‘I loved meeting a real author.’

‘It really was a wicked day.’

‘When can we meet another author?’

‘Wish we had more time....can't wait to start writing.’

'It was good to hear from the author how you can make your stories more interesting.’

At the end of the two days we launched our inaugural writing competition, inviting everyone in the school to draw or write anything as long as it was based on the theme of 'friendship and respect', and the entries have been pouring in. The winners are about to be announced at an upcoming school assembly.

The pupils were delighted to speak with a real author and to gain some tips on writing. Pupils loved the fact they were stimulated to stretch their imaginations. All pupils were motivated to write their own piece and now pupils are asking for the books. Both authors involved the pupils closely in their sessions, and we hope they will return again. St. Mary's staff and pupils wish to thank the authors for giving their time and the Parent Council for arranging the ‘Wicked Event’.


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