Interview: Exciting methods for engaging your pupils with literacy

A Tale Unfolds

A Tale Unfolds help schools to triple literacy progress by providing high quality and highly engaging online projects using video. They provide step by step guidance on how to film using a tablet and simple apps, and offer class workshops and teacher training session which bring learning to life in the modern classroom.

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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:

What is LitFilmFest?

is a one-day festival championing the writing and filmmaking achievements of Primary school pupils. It takes place on Monday June 19th at the London BFI IMAX – the largest screen in Britain. We’re inviting Key Stage 2 classes across the country to enter; all pupils need to do is write and produce a short film from a choice of four different categories.

The winners in each of the categories will be invited to shoot their films professionally, before their efforts are brought to life before their eyes at a prestigious IMAX screening, in front of an audience of 500 people! Shortlisted classes will be invited to attend the event too. There are four screenings over the course of the day.

What inspired you to organise the event?

Our fundamental aim at A Tale Unfolds has always been to raise literacy attainment through the use of filmmaking projects. As Primary teachers ourselves, we’ve witnessed the impact that a simple digital goal and audience can have on children’s motivation to write – and we’re not alone. The literacy resources we make are currently used in over 3,500 classrooms and counting!

Inspired by incredible efforts of schools up and down the country, we wanted to find a way to collectively celebrate pupils’ finished films; the culmination of their amazing writing accomplishments. This much dedication and passion deserves to be shared on the biggest screen possible. With the BFI IMAX in our sights, LitFilmFest was born.

What has the response been like from schools so far?

The daily messages we receive from teachers on social media remind us exactly why we do what we do. It’s a humbling experience when schools tell us that LitFilmFest projects have tripled their pupils’ literacy progress, and truly inspiring to hear stories of previously reluctant writers who won’t put their pen down.

Writing achievements aside, it’s also great to hear about the wider skills that the projects foster: the collaboration and communication required to achieve success in a team; the confidence that pupils have gained when offered a new way to express their creativity, through digital skills.

How easily can a teacher enter their class' movie?

Entering LitFilmFest couldn’t be easier. The projects within each category vary in length, starting from five hours (the film trailer projects) to 30 hours (the action & adventure projects), so even teachers with a limited timeframe have plenty of options to choose from. What’s more, each category is supported by comprehensive planning linked to the National Curriculum, videos and technical guidance (designed by teachers) so the projects can be introduced in classrooms immediately. The closing date for entries is Wednesday 17th May.

What are you looking for in entries?

Our aim is to empower children to take ownership of their learning and become the driving force of the projects. Needless to say, LitFilmFest entries should be about their ideas, writing, presentation, direction and filming. When submitting films, teachers are asked to provide evidence of written work as well as a link to their film.

Special effects and slick editing will not make an entry more likely to be chosen as a category winner. For us at A Tale Unfolds, the focus of the festival always comes back to raising standards in writing, the message the children deliver and their presentation skills.

Visit for more information. The deadline for submissions to LitFilmFest is Wednesday 17th May 2017. Winners will be notified and invited to film their entry professionally shortly before the event on Monday 19th June 2017.

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