Get involved with Robert Louis Stevenson Day 2016

Image from the stage adaptation of Kidnapped, with Alan Breck grabbing David Balfour and putting a hand over his mouth

Robert Louis Stevenson can be a tricky guy to bring into the primary school classroom. Children will probably be familiar with a lot of RLS-isms (yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum anyone?) and could well know the basic gist of Treasure Island. However, they might find their first attempt at reading one of the original texts a bit of a challenge or be intimidated by the slightly unfamiliar language of 130 years ago.

Classes can see the adventures of Davie Balfour adapted for the stage

Never fear, me hearties, RLS Day 2016 might be able to help!

RLS Day was originally set up to commemorate Stevenson’s birthday on the 13th November but has since expanded to a week of events for both the public and schools. We’re delighted this year to be working with the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Storytelling Centre to showcase a performance and workshop to introduce a fresh look at Kidnapped.

‘Kidnapped: When Kilts Were Banned’ is written by Donald Smith and presented by Rough Cut Robin Productions. Classes can see the adventures of Davie Balfour adapted for the stage, getting to grips with the characters and amazing narrative of the classic text in an accessible and fun way.

We’re running a creative writing competition this year, based around our theme of crime, to get young imaginations working

Linked to this, we have some limited places left on an associated workshop which allows primary students to explore the book through storytelling and performance. If you’re interested in booking onto either of these free events, please just have a look at our website.

One of the key components of our RLS Day schools programme is encouraging younger readers by looking at the story off the page. The books are a great read, but having sections read aloud is a brilliant way to tune into the rhythms of the language and allows the whole class to experience the story at the same pace. Have a look at our resources page for some ideas to explore the text in more detail.

Reading aloud and seeing performances (either live or online) are all fantastic tools but one of the greatest gifts RLS left was a legacy of inspiration. Countless authors have cited him as an influence and his gift for pure, imaginative storytelling stands out in literary history. We’re running a creative writing competition this year, based around our theme of crime, to get young imaginations working.

Sometimes the best way to appreciate someone else’s art is by creating your own. We’ve started a story, and would love to get some primary students to tell us how it could end. We don’t mind about grammar, spelling or word count: we would just love to read some tales with the kind of twists and turns which would make RLS’s moustache twitch.

Head on over to the Edinburgh City of Literature homepage to see their full range of programmes and attractions!

If you're a secondary teacher looking for some Kidnapped resources to use at National 5, we have an activity pack for the novel, plus all the other prose texts on the National 5 Scottish texts list.

 

 

 

Sian Bevan

Sian Bevan is the Interim Project Manager at Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust.