Four new hubs for Cheltenham Festivals’ inspirational Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils network of free teachers’ reading groups have launched in Yorkshire and Humberside, the South West, the East Midlands and the North West.
New partners in these areas are Bradford Literature Festival; KEAP (The Writers’ Block); National Literacy Trust and The Reader who will start their reading groups in October. They join regional partners in four other areas: Centre for Literacy in Primary Education in London; Just Imagine in the East of England; Peters in the West Midlands; Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books in the North East; plus Cheltenham Festivals in Gloucestershire.
Within two weeks of launching across the eight regions the scheme is already 60% subscribed; while existing partners Seven Stories have allocated all their available spaces even before the promotional leaflets have been sent out.
Debut author Kirsty Applebaum’s book The Middler was one of five books studied this academic year by more than 100 teachers across the country. She said: “There is something very special about the books we read when we are children – they embed themselves into our hearts and sprinkle magic over the rest of our lives. I was overjoyed, then, when my debut children’s novel was selected for the Cheltenham Festivals’ Reading Teachers=Reading Pupils 2019/20 – and my joy only increased as I discovered what an amazing programme this is. I have been moved to tears on more than one occasion by testimonials from teachers who, through RT=RP, have developed a love of reading and been empowered to pass that love of reading on to their pupils. It is an immense honour for my very first book to be part of this RT=RP magic.”
Catherine Stokes, Head of UK and Export Sales and Marketing at children’s publisher Nosy Crow said: “Reading Teachers=Reading Pupils is brilliant, engaging and impactful. The programme has added huge support to our incredibly talented debut author Kirsty Applebaum and has facilitated and empowered her to engage directly with readers. RT=RP is opening up a brand-new network of influential champions who are passionate about sharing new, exciting and, very possibly, previously undiscovered books with children and their parents, the value of which cannot be underestimated as a children’s publisher.”
Books studied this year are The Middler by Kirsty Applebaum, The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Rauf, Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay, The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd and Mirror by Jeannie Baker.
Cheltenham Festivals was awarded a grant of £127,608 from Arts Council England to expand its Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils programme nationally. A further four partners are set to come on board in academic year 2021/22, with the aim of supporting around 400 teachers and reaching nearly 29,000 children in every part of the UK by 2022.