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Monday, June 27, 2022

Campaign celebrating Bradford’s diversity by National Literacy Trust launched today

A campaign to promote community literacies has launched today with an equal focus on speaking and reading to recognise the important tradition of oral storytelling in Bradford.

Dive into ‘A World of Bradford Stories’ with the launch of a new National Literacy Trust campaign celebrating the diverse range of voices, cultures and oral traditions in the city

The campaign is running for a month to promote community literacies – with an equal focus on speaking and reading to recognise the important tradition of oral storytelling in Bradford.

It promotes the power of stories in the city’s most common languages and dialects through virtual story sessions, poetry recitals, a Bradford Stories Bus programme of workshops, a poet Q&A and a range of fun family activities, on the Bradford Stories Facebook page until 21 February.

Bradford Stories Hub launched its literacy bus was officially launched in October last year.

Across the month, parents and children aged three years plus are being given free access to a diverse range of voices.

Volunteer storytellers in your local neighbourhoods are capturing imaginations and inspiring families to play a part in preserving their first language and celebrating their culture.

With free videos ranging from a reading of Naughty Dominic in Slovakian, Ibong Adarna in Filippino and Punjabi poetry, there is a range of digital resources to support children and parents literacy skills during A World of Bradford Stories.

Multilingual nursery rhymes, an exploration of Yorkshire dialect and the Glottal Stop and three scrapbook activity booklets help young people and parents build new skills and celebrate their heritage.

A World of Bradford Stories forms part of the National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign and is to run until International Mother Language Day on 21 February.

The launch comes after 2 in 5 children who speak multiple languages admitted they want their multilingual skills to be more recognised in school and reading about characters similar to them makes them feel more confident about themselves, according to National Literacy Trust research.

The bus was officially launched in October with an inaugural journey across the District from City Park to Bradford Moor Park.

A third of UK children admitted they do not see themselves in the books they read, according to a National Literacy Trust survey of 6,000 children and young people.

It found that 33% of children did not see themselves in stories, with the proportion increasing to 40% of children from ethnic minority backgrounds, and to 46% of children from black ethnic backgrounds.

The campaign’s programme celebrates and supports multilingualism – to empower parents to conserve their dialect and children to feel they can relate to stories and characters. It is specially designed to represent the native speakers and families in the city by offering tips on writing poetry, chatting in your mother tongue and listening to your elders.

This is particularly important as studies show children who develop good use of their home language are more likely to develop good English. The cultural, linguistic and social benefits of bilingualism and home-learning last a lifetime, according to EAL research.

Imran Hafeez, Bradford Stories Hub Manager.

Bilingualism stimulates brain development and helps children learn because they can think about their ideas in two (or more) languages.

Children who are good readers are happier with their lives. Those with above-expected reading skills are three times more likely to have high mental wellbeing than their peers with below expected reading skills (40.3% vs 13.1%).

The National Literacy Trust research shows that reading for pleasure improves mental wellbeing, with more than half (59%) of children saying reading in lockdown this spring made them feel better and a half (50%) saying it inspired them to dream about the future.

Imran Hafeez, Bradford Stories Hub Manager, said: “Together with local poets, authors and literacy champions in different communities, we are holding an action-packed programme for you to enjoy and join in with. Over the four weeks, there will be a range of events, activities and competitions for you to get involved with once again.

“Literacy is not just about reading and writing, it’s also about the ability to express ourselves and be heard. This is something we’re focused on at Bradford Stories. “Having strong literacy skills can strengthen communities and enables us to celebrate our identities. When people feel like they have the chance to tell their stories and can listen to others, this helps us create empathy and form connections.

“We believe that books and stories have an important part to play in the wellbeing and happiness of families. So, we are encouraging parents and children to share stories together every day, whether that’s reading stories aloud, listening to audiobooks as a family or watching storytime videos by our incredible volunteers and Lit Champs.”

Kicking off today, there will be an epic programme of story reading sessions and workshops on the Bradford Stories Bus:

  • Discovering new titles session and book gifting with Bowling Park Primary School, Bradford Girls Grammar School and Holycroft Primary School on the Bradford Stories Bus, between 8-10 February.
  • Yorkshire dialect and finding your authentic voice workshop with poet Jack Collins on the Bradford Stories Bus, on 10 February.
  • Multilingual Kashmiri theatre production Khooghi at Girlington Community Centre on 17 February, 6-8pm.
  • Poetry and inspiration workshop with artist Nabeela Ahmed with Appleton Academy on the Bradford Stories Bus, on 18 February.

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