Creativity is at the core of reading and writing, at the heart of speaking and listening. So our range of Creative Literacy programmes offers KS3 and 4 students opportunities to explore and experiment with words in different contexts.
Experiential, exciting and empowering, our imaginative approaches harness tried and trusted approaches from the worlds of drama, visual art and creative writing. Approaches specifically developed to support young people in developing their reading and writing skills – and to boost motivation, build on existing knowledge and enhance progression.
Download the Creative Literacy leaflet
Our highly interactive poetry workshops are a fantastic way to celebrate poetry in your school. During our sessions pupils will be introduced to frameworks that allow them to construct and revel in poems that question the world around them – and learn the skills associated with performance. View all of our National Poetry Day programmes here.
Soundscape Poetry has always been one of the most popular workshops, as it engages students in creating their own poems – with content that’s closely linked to texts they’re exploring in class!
Those students who said they don’t like poetry will be writing furiously at the end of this magical workshop. Realising the power of “sound”, they’ll design and perform contrasting soundscapes on a text or theme of your choice – then be guided through a structure that will help them create poems that tell both individual and collective stories.
Longer workshops will see them gaining experience in presentation skills as we support them in exploring the most effective ways to deliver their poems vocally.
Exploring (according to age): onomatopoeia, alliteration, descriptive writing, contrasts, rhythm, tone, pace.
Duration: Soundscape Poetry is suitable for up to 30 students at a time and, depending on how many classes you’d like us to work with, lasts between 1 and 2 lessons.
"The students thoroughly enjoyed all the workshops and many of the students said the workshops were their favourite part of the intervention week. They gained a sense of confidence and the workshops really enabled them to feel that they were competent readers and writers. They were left with a real sense of achievement and were proud to talk about and demonstrate what they had done and learnt in the workshops to their parents at the end of the week. For a group who often do not feel confident in their own abilities, this was really significant." (Teacher, Kingsway School)
What would the world look like from the point of view of a withered tree on the Somme in World War I? How would it sound to the tree in which Scout, Jem and Dill hide their treasures in “To Kill a Mockingbird”? What would be the memories of Mount Etna? And what might the clock on your classroom wall dream of as it gazes down on all the learning below? This highly imaginative and interactive workshop allows students to harvest the fruits of both their own and their classmates’ imaginations as they explore notions of empathy to construct some uniquely moving poetry. Longer workshops will see them gaining experience in presentation skills as we support them in exploring the most effective ways to deliver their poems vocally.
Exploring (according to age): empathy, personification, subtext, descriptive writing, contrasts, rhythm, tone, pace.
Duration: 1 - 2 lessons, depending on how many classes.
Every tree starts as a seed – a seed that germinates and flourishes. And every poem starts with an idea – an idea that finds its form in words. In both cases, the journey to fruition is an organic one. And while neither topiarist nor poet can know what the final outcome will be until it’s there in all it’s glory, they both shape and prune their creations carefully.
This enchanting workshop supports children and young people in appreciating how a poem evolves from the pen of its writer – and offers them scaffolds allowing ideas and words to take root and grow. We’ll provide them with stimuli to start the process off, enable them to think structurally as they begin to piece their poems together – and emphasise the role that “choice” plays in poetry as they select the words, phrases, similes, metaphors and personifications that best suit their needs.
Suitable for: KS3
Duration: 60minutes – half a day
Exploring (according to age): descriptive writing, connection-making, simile, metaphor, poetic structure.
“A fantastic experience for the students and the staff present. Your team added depth and fun to our Reading Week – and adds the perfect touch to the activities I plan and implement!” (English Teacher, Archbishop Beck High)
“Lots of great ideas that I can apply to my GCSE teaching of ‘The Tempest’ and loads of accessible/ fun ways into introducing Shakespeare to lower school classes. I’ll try some of these out on my Year 7s, 8s and 9s too!” (English Teacher, Fazakerley High)
From Page to Stage
It’s not just with Shakespeare where you and your students can benefit from the input and experience of our team of professional theatre practitioners – as we’re able to take any text from Play to Stage.
Exploring: character, motivation, cause and effect, close textual reading, simple stagecraft.
Duration: 1 – 2 lessons, depending on the number of classes
Our Shakespeare programmes prove popular and successful both nationally and internationally - and we've been lucky enough to work this year with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the brains behind Shakespeare Week. Our programmes work with any of the plays in the canon - and can normally be accomplished in as little as a single lesson (although we always prefer longer, of course!)
Spotlight on Shakespeare
Over four hundred years since his death, Shakespeare’s poetry is still being read, performed and listened to all over the world – which says something for its power and beauty! This experiential and highly active workshop sees pupils being introduced to a number of drama activities and approaches as we take them right through the play, exploring the backstory, meeting the main characters and bringing key moments to life. Our Shakespeare programmes are all planned and delivered by professional theatre practitioners, and so give pupils a uniquely “actor’s eye view” of the text. We certainly don’t shy away from the verse - and our approaches work with any of the plays!"
Shaking Up Shakespeare
Nick Bottom, one of the amateur actors at the heart of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, is convinced he can do anything – play any role, sing, dance and direct! This sideways look at the play relocates the action to a television studio, where performers, judges, presenters and the audience are readying themselves for a recording of “Athens’ Got Talent”. Mixing structured improvisation with lines from Shakespeare’s text, children will explore some of the major characters (including the lovers, the fairies, the mechanicals and the Athenian court) – and ways that their interactions change and develop as the story goes on. And in longer workshops you’ll be left with an innovative piece of theatre that can be shown to parents, other pupils or the wider community!
Shakespeare and Poetry
Shakespeare’s greatest characters change as the plays they inhabit progress. So Macbeth moves from acting as his country’s brave and loyal servant to betraying it in a sea of blood. Juliet changes from a spoilt and truculent teenager to a tragic heroine – and Prospero undergoes a complete sea change from vengeful sorcerer to paragon of forgiveness. This experiential workshop uses drama techniques to introduce students to characters from a play of your choice, then introduces them to Clerihews – four line, descriptive, rhyming poems.
Exploring depending on age, focus and time): backstories, narrative structure, characterisation, cause and effect, simple stagecraft, the roles of verse and prose, iambic pentameter, the power of metaphor, theatre history, “hidden stage directions”, Shakespearean conventions.
Duration: 1 lesson – 1 day, depending on focus and number of classes.
Shakespeare for GCSE and A Level
Give your students an insider’s perspective of the play they’re studying, and a chance to shine in their exams, by exploring key scenes and/or themes and/or characters in dramatic detail. Tied to the relevant syllabus, these workshops will be informed by your needs - and the more time you can give us wit your cohort the better!
Ways into Shakespeare (Teacher CPD workshop / INSET Day)
Supporting you in rising to the challenges of the new curriculum, this highly engaging and experiential workshop, which can be booked as a twilight or half-day or whole-day INSET, explores ways of using Shakespeare to develop pupils’ understanding of text through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. In addition, of course, it will equip you with a range of approaches that can be transferred to any Shakespeare play!
CSI: Reading Skills
Students who tell us they don’t like “reading” are always amazed when they realise quite how much skilful reading they’ve accomplished by the end of this fun and busy workshop. From inference and deduction to skimming and scanning, from previewing to predicting and from context to content, CSI: Reading Skills makes no bones in drawing connections between the everyday skills required to interpret infographics and play computer games and those required to delve into more formal texts.
Specifically designed to support students in making those connections between different ways of “reading”, CSI: Reading Skills sees them working in small teams to help out in a time of national emergency – because a briefcase containing some Top Secret plans was discovered on the 8.42 to Little Padworth, destined for an Enemy Power. The only clues to the identity of the traitor are to be found in a pile of old train tickets, recipe, book reviews and faded photographs. If “read” correctly, however, they’ll allow the pupils to discover who took the plans and why.
Suitable for: KS3, KS4 (up to 30 students at a time)
Exploring: generic and transferable “reading” skills; the roles of speculation, inference and deduction in reading.
Duration: 1½ hours – half a day
"Many of the students involved said it was one of their favourite parts of the week! I will be recommending as creatives to colleagues in other departments and schools without a doubt and I very much hope to be able to include you in our literacy week next year." (Head of English, The Kingsway School)
World Book Day
World Book Day celebrates the joy and value of books and reading – and we’ve put together an exciting portfolio of programmes that does just that! No-one is ever too young, too old or too cool to enjoy a journey with books and stories, so our drama and visual arts workshops have been carefully developed to promote a lifelong love of reading. And, whether you’re looking for a character visit, an opportunity to learn more about well-loved characters through drawing and illustration or some magical ways of inspiring pupils to tell their own tales, you’ll find something to suit you here! click here to view the full list of World Book Day workshops.
The World of Books (Drama Programme)
With its clear focus on narrative structure, drama provides an excellent way of engaging students in storytelling and the World of Books. After warming up with some innovative theatre games, these workshops challenge students to plan, prepare, perform and peer review short dramas. And, in a twist, their dramas must incorporate a number of specific features – all selected at random!
These workshops offer students structured opportunities to:
- Create, adapt and sustain different roles, individually and in groups;
- Use character, action and narrative to convey story, themes emotions and ideas in plays they devise and script;
- Make connections between different parts of a text – for example, how stories begin and end, what has been included and what has omitted.
Duration: 1 - 2 lessons, depending on how many classes.
“I was impressed by as creatives’ approaches to storyboarding – this is definitely something I will consider for my lessons!” (English Teacher, Haydock Sports College)
“Soundscape Poetry was pitched really cleverly, great ideas were teased out of the kids without making them feel uncomfortable” (Gifted & Talented Coordinator, Parklands High School, Liverpool)