More than 12 million people have difficulty with reading and writing in the United Kingdom. The BBC decided to come to their aid by launching the programme RaW (Reading and Writing), which has just received an Honourable Mention in this year’s UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize awards.
Launched in January 2007, the RaW programme provides, among other material, story books that parents can read to their children while at the same time improving their own literacy skills with puzzles and quizzes.
During the summer in 2007 and 2008, RaW went on tour to areas in the United Kingdom where literacy is low. A circus-like environment was set up to incite families to participate in story-telling festivals. On hand were the characters Max and Lara from the children’s stories created by RaW.
One of the festival’s high points was a storytelling performance from Sidney Sloane (above, left), children’s television presenter for the BBC. Telling stories to children is an art, on which the BBC has published some handy “Tips” (above, right).
Besides the events it organizes - reading clubs, quiz groups in pubs, travelling circus with readings and shows - RaW also makes available free programmes for mobile phones and even free half-hour telephone consultations with a teacher.
Olivier Rey ( UNESCO Courier)
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