LITERACY

In June this year, 7-11 year-olds from across the country will descend on the BFI IMAX to attend LitFilmFest – a cinematic celebration of pupils’ writing achievements through filmmaking. Dominic Traynor, the festival’s founder, talks to us about the purpose of the event and how schools can get involved:

Filmmaking projects that inspire, empower and improve literacy attainment in the classroom. Children at Tubbenden Primary School in Bromley recently completed a literacy and filmmaking project by A Tale Unfolds – a social enterprise (formed of teachers) striving to improve children’s literacy skills through digital storytelling and filmmaking.

Here, two Year 6 teachers from the school, Laura Venn and Sarah Davey, discuss their experiences of using one of the projects as well as the impact that a digital literacy focus had on their pupils:

Reading gurus Giglets Education has released an advanced version of its online literacy resource, the Learning Cloud, for use by teachers and pupils in Primary and early Secondary education.

A couple of weeks back, I went to the first meeting of a new book group. I’d been thinking for ages that I wanted to join one and then, while my little lad Arthur and I sat waiting for our Saturday morning haircuts in the barber’s, one just sort of presented itself to me in a poster stuck to the antique dresser they use as a reception desk. It was for men only, it was to be held in a pub and the first book was a cracker, ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, a shatteringly bleak post-apocalyptic vision I’d taught to some dream Year 9s about 4 years previously – how could I not go?

While today’s young people (Millennials and Generation Z) are very much just like the ones that preceded them - rebellious, searching for meaning, keen to understand the world and their place in it - they are at the same time completely different than any generation before them. The near limitless ability to consume information, organise with others, and communicate one’s thoughts makes this group very particular, to say the least.

“The more you read, the more things you will know,
the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr Seuss

That time of year is upon us, where our whole school approach to literacy takes a decidedly exciting turn. For two whole weeks, the children are encouraged to become pioneers in their own literacy journey; a fortnight where children are encouraged to truly see the importance of literacy in our culture and embrace texts they might not encounter through every day reading, writing and listening tasks.

In June this year, 1500 7-11 year olds, teachers and parents will get to see their youngsters' work on the British Film Institute (BFI) IMAX’s cinema screen as part of a new initiative to improve literacy using filmmaking. The Lit Film Fest, featuring films written, performed and filmed entirely by Primary school pupils, is soon to hit Britain's biggest cinema screen. Powered by A Tale Unfolds and supported by Innovate My School, the festival will premier at the BFI IMAX Cinema in Waterloo, London, allowing children aged 7-11 see their work showcased on the 20 x 26 metre screen!

The standards of a pupil’s literacy should, in my opinion, be not only measured by how adept they are at reading written texts, but also their ability to read media texts, too, especially in this case film. However, when the 2016 Programmes of Study for English were published, all mention of film, indeed of most media texts, had vanished and instead we were handed a throwback curriculum full of, well, dead white dudes.

Pobble, recognised this week as the most promising education technology company in the UK by the organisation of British publishers, has announced that it will further expand its team of literacy teachers. As many as six educators joined Pobble this term. Here, one of them shares her experience.

Think tension. Think Music. Think a knife and a shower curtain. Think a rocking boat and glinting teeth...


When teaching my pupils about tension in narrative, I turn to film scores. We’ve all been there: a darkened cinema, the heavy breathing of a potential victim, the slow building music, an increase in heart rate. The scene reaches its climax and the victim is caught by the ghost/vampire/serial killer/rabbit. Now play the scene without the music. Does it have the same impact? Does your heart beat in quite the same way? Why does a building “duh duh…duh duh” have us sprinting for the shore?

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