Celebrating our ‘Promoting Literacy Through Sport’ project

Earlier today we celebrated the success of our project with South Shields Football Club where we aimed to promote literacy through sport by working with KS2 pupils from across the Borough to turn their enthusiasm for football into literacy skills and report writing.

To develop their writing skills, pupils worked with local writer James Whitman, who ran a workshop with them here at The Word,  to create match reports. They then got the chance to record their reports in our Media Studio.

I’m delighted to have been part of an innovative project, partnering with South Shields Football Club (SSFC), local primary schools, The Word and OpenZone.

The project has involved players and staff from SSFC visiting local schools, giving kids a chance to meet local footballers. This has made the club really accessible to young football fans (and has also given them the chance to see Ursene Mouanda do the Floss).

After their school visit, the club supplied free tickets for pupils and their families. The kids also had the opportunity to be guards of honour on the day.

I was really impressed with the club’s match day experience, especially for families. Before the match, they put on an hour of free sporting activities for younger fans (and their parents – there was more than one competitive dad reliving their glory days when we played rounders). There are also break out areas for kids who might get bored with The Mariners thrashing their opponents every week.

Shortly after the match, pupils then visited The Word, where I helped them write match reports, using extensive highlights supplied by the club. It was great working with the kids, and encouraging them to put their own personal stamp on their reports.

Once the reports were written, pupils recorded video versions before a green screen in the OpenZone studio. This was an exciting moment, and it helped to show off some of the exceptional facilities available at The Word.

The feedback we got from the kids has been brilliant, and the project has really helped to strengthen the connections between SSFC, local schools and The Word. Now all The Mariners need to do is win the league!

James Whitman

(James is a local author and playwright. He is currently writing a historically inspired play for Gateshead Archive, and running a writing project with asylum seekers and refugees in Sunderland.)

To celebrate the end of the project, the pupils involved were invited back to The Word earlier on today (29 April 2019) for a celebration event where the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Cllr Ken Stephenson and Mrs Cathy Stephenson were in attendance. The youngsters were able to see a screening of their reports, enjoy a quiz with the players from the football club and further develop their literacy and communication skills by conducting and filming interviews with each other about how the enjoyed being a part of the project. The event was a great way to ‘end the season’ for the project and we’re excited to see how the project can grow in future.

Take a look below at some of the photos from the celebration event.

We would like to thank everyone involved in the project including SSFC, James Whitman, South Tyneside Libraries and OpenZone.

This is part of a programme of works specifically for children and young people in South Tyneside that we deliver with sponsorship support from Mirabaud.