9th July 2015

More than 60 children from 10 primary schools in Waltham Forest have contributed to an anthology of short stories inspired by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, created through an imaginative game of story ‘Consequences’.

Each of the children receives one-to-one reading support from trained volunteers through ‘Building Brighter Futures’, a partnership between the Foundation for FutureLondon and national literacy charity Beanstalk, to improve essential literacy skills in the borough.

Starting with the sentence:  “Once upon a time, in a field not far from here, there was a tall red tower with a tiny house at the top”,  each child was invited to write up to three sentences, before passing it on to the next child to add their imaginative thoughts. Each school submitted a complete story with all the children’s contributions.

On Friday 3 July, Frayah Kabiri, Suleiman Abdi, Brendon Mwesigeua and Leon Dudly from Jenny Hammond Primary School, Waltham Forest, along with reading helpers Catherine Ker and Nurtaz Rahman, launched the anthology at StoryFest, a new literature festival in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, reading out their story to well-known children’s author Emily Gravett, after which the children gifted the author a signed copy of their book, turning the children into fully fledged authors.

The full collection of stories can be viewed here: Tales of a Tall Red Tower

If you would like to become a Beanstalk reading helper to help more children learn to read well and gain a lifetime love of reading, please call 020 7729 4087 or visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk.

Claire Gevaux, Creative Director, Foundation for FutureLondon, said: “Building Brighter Futures is a programme designed to nurture essential literacy skills, but also encourage an appreciation of the power of words. The stories that developed through this year’s challenge show incredible imagination which transports the reader into inspiring fairy tale lands – all the more impressive when you realise the children may have only just started writing very recently. We’re incredibly grateful to the time and energy of the reading helpers that make this project happen, and hope the children who benefit from their support go on to develop a life-long love of stories.”

Ginny Lunn, CEO, Beanstalk, said: “Beanstalk believes that all children should be able to read well by the time they leave primary school. That is why we’re delighted to mark another year of our successful partnership with the Foundation for FutureLondon. The progress we have made in helping young children across Waltham Forest engage with their reading and story-telling is evident in the short stories published in this anthology. Reading the wonderful characters in these stories makes me very proud of the role Beanstalk has played in stimulating children’s imaginations and confidence.”

Notes to Editors:

The schools who participated in the anthology are:

Barn Croft Primary School, Year 3
Chapel End Infants School, Year 2
Downsell Primary School, Year 3
Edinburgh Primary School, Year 3 & 4
Jenny Hammond Primary School, Year 3 & 6
Larkswood Primary Academy, Year 4
Newport Primary School, Year 4
Oakhill Primary School, Year 1 & 2
St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School, Year 3, 4 & 5
Whitehall Primary School, Year 1 & 2

About Building Brighter Futures

Building Brighter Futures is a three year programme between the Foundation for FutureLondon and Beanstalk, aimed at improving the reading skills of primary school children in Waltham Forest by providing vital one to one support from volunteers.

This year the funding for the programme has enabled Beanstalk to recruit, train and vet 26 volunteer reading helpers to support 78 children in 12 schools across the borough.

About Foundation for FutureLondon

The Foundation for FutureLondon is the Olympicopolis charity, realising the ambition of a new cultural and university district on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Incorporating Sadler’s Wells, University of the Arts London, University College London and the Victoria and Albert Museum, the scheme is e xpected to deliver £2.8 billion of economic value to Stratford and the surrounding area. The Legacy List has merged with the Foundation for FutureLondon, which will deliver a programme for the advancement of art, culture, education, heritage and science in east London. www.future.london 

About Beanstalk

Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. Beanstalk reading helpers work with children on a one-to-one basis, giving them consistent support to improve reading levels, increase overall confidence and help them gain the vital literacy skills they need to succeed in life. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoying reading is often transformed.

Beanstalk is in need of new reading helpers, to find out more please visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 020 7729 4087

About Discover Children’s Story Centre

Discover is the UK's first hands-on creative centre for children and families and the only story centre in London. Meera Syal called it, ‘a gem of a place in east London - focused on fun, imagination and literacy’, and Benjamin Zephaniah said: ‘Once you enter you will never want to leave’. ‘Time Out’ voted Discover one of London's top five kids' days out in 2007. Discover has won a silver award for Visit London Awards 2008 – Best Celebration of Cultural Diversity.  

Discover provides colourful indoor and outdoor spaces where children and their carers can create stories through play. Regular areas include a ‘Story Trail’ of interactive exhibits featuring a sparkly river and puppet theatre and ‘Story Garden’ with a pirate ship and spacecraft. The ‘Story Studio’ hosts a changing programme of events and exhibitions, from storytelling by famous children’s authors to arts and crafts activities. Discover works with over 100,000 visitors a year.