Ramsgate Arts Primary literacy festival examines ‘connections’

Story book fun at RAPs

The theme of the Ramsgate Arts Primary annual literacy festival this year was ‘connections’ and it was the perfect preparation for returning to school after lockdown.

In the last week before heading back, children enjoyed a range of fun learning activities that encouraged them to explore the wonderful world of literacy through reading and writing.

RAPS English Lead Alice Rees-Boughton organised the event and explained: “Connections was chosen because during the festival some children were at home and some were at school, but we were all connected and remained part of the RAPS community.”

Girls and boys from Reception to Year 6 all studied the same book – Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers – and completed writing and art activities based on the story.

A wide range of authors and illustrators popular in the world of children’s literacy created bespoke video links just for RAPS. They included Nick Sharratt, who has illustrated more than 50 books with author Jacqueline Wilson such as The Lottie Project, Little Darlings and The Story of Tracy Beaker which was the most borrowed library book in the UK for the first decade of the 21st century.

The books on which Sharratt and Wilson have collaborated have sold more than 40 million copies in the UK and sales of picture books illustrated by Sharratt exceed 10 million.

Other authors and illustrators who joined in the festival fun were Chris Judge, Alan Durrant, Granny Green, Martyn Harvey, Tamara MacFarlane and Gilbert Giggles.

There was also a live question and answer session streamed to classrooms and homes with Children’s Laureate 2017-19 Lauren Child who is the author of the Charlie and Lola books.

Children also read their own books to camera and sent video clips into school, while on World Book Day pupils and staff dressed as their favourite characters with inspiration coming from Where’s Wally, the Harry Potter series, Frozen, Mary Poppins, Flat Stanley, Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl stories, and many more.

There are numerous colourful displays of creative writing and artwork inspired by the festival on show around the school including illustrations of connection, disconnection and the Here We Are text.

Head of School Nick Budge said: “The connection theme worked so well – and it continues now children have returned to school and are now reconnecting with our community, the school environment, their classmates and friends, and our staff.

“The festival was a real lift for them during the last week in lockdown as it created momentum for their return when we would all be reunited. It was a positive pathway for them to connect with mainstream education in RAPS once again.

“We were extremely fortunate to have so many top class visiting speakers create films especially for our school and the live streaming events were also a fantastic way for our children to further explore all aspects of literacy.

“Huge praise goes to Miss Rees-Boughton for the phenomenal work in creating such a diverse, interesting, educational and fun learning experience despite the setbacks we faced this year.

“The festival enhanced and explored our love of the spoken and written word at RAPS, which is an important part of our children’s educational journey.”