On the trail

Jasmine sat holding a book on a stage

Jasmine of the National Literacy Trust on Get Islington Reading’s family clue hunt and bringing people together through stories

Get Islington Reading is a shared project between National Literacy Trust, The Reading Agency, Islington Libraries and Islington School Improvement Service. They have been working together to champion and encourage a love of reading in Islington, because they all believe in the power of stories to improve connection, empathy and wellbeing.

They wanted to create activities that would bring families together through stories, especially during the summer holidays. In a survey, lots of Islington school children told them they were nervous about starting secondary school, and so they designed a project that would support them through this difficult time, which includes author visits to schools and copies of books from the ‘books for big change’ list that tackle the theme of change, so that young people can see themselves in what they read and find comfort. The story trail in the summer holidays is a big part of this project. Jasmine from the National Literacy Trust tells us more

What’s the Get Islington Reading trail all about?
Set Sail on a Story Trail is a clue hunt around Islington for children and their families during the summer holidays. It’s a free activity that bridges the gap between primary and secondary school, when children are both looking forward to and a bit nervous about their next step – and might not be doing as much reading as parents or teachers would like!

It’s based on a book called When Secrets Set Sail by Sita Brahmachari, but you don’t have to have read the book to enjoy the trail. Sita’s books are filled with strong, warm-hearted characters from backgrounds that are often underrepresented in children’s books, and so we hope that children will see themselves in the story of Usha, Imtiaz and Cosmo.

Just like hundreds of young people across the borough, these characters are going through lots of big changes in their lives, one of which is moving up from primary to secondary school. They find friendship and adventure with each other, and we hope children will feel like they are creating their own story and adventure by setting sail on the story trail.

What do you hope children will get out of doing it?
The trail is the perfect activity to enjoy as a family, get out and about in your local area during the summer holidays, explore local libraries and museums, and discover the magic of stories together. Children will follow the footsteps of the characters in the book, hunting down clues and discovering hidden corners of Islington. At the end of the trail, you can pick up a special badge from Lewis Carrol Children’s library as a reward.

If families pick up their trail map from one of the wonderful libraries, they can explore that free service too – they might like to talk to a librarian about the other books on the ‘books for big change’ list, check out other titles from Sita Brahmachari, or find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge, a fantastic initiative from The Reading Agency, in partnership with Islington libraries. We hope that children will also enjoy discovering local history at Islington Museum and the London Canal Museum, which are brilliant places to visit in the summer holidays.

How do children get involved?
Pick up your trail map from Finsbury Library or Lewis Carroll Children’s Library, or visit the Get Islington Reading website to download a digital map you can follow on your phone. The trail will be running throughout the summer holidays, until the end of August.

Visit the Get Islington Reading website for all the information, library opening times, and extra reading and writing activities for the summer holidays.

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