Supporting Education

Rotary breaks down language barriers

Rotary breaks down language barriers

In Stourbridge in the West Midlands, Rotary is working with parents and schoolchildren to help raise literacy levels in an area where, for many, English is a second language.

A Rotary club in the West Midlands is supporting a literacy project at a school where many of the children and their families speak English as a second language.

Rotary Stourbridge is working with Wollescote Primary School to support an innovative project to establish a Story Sack Library.

Wollescote Primary School serves an area of high deprivation, with over 80% of children speaking English as an additional language.

The majority of children are of Pakistani Heritage. A recent and increasing number of children are of Romanian and Gypsy Roma Heritage.

Few families access public libraries and a significant number of mothers do not read English, relying on older siblings or relatives to teach reading skills to their children.

The school has recently introduced a successful play and stay programme for mothers with young children.

This targets mothers with little or no English. The programme supports their understanding of English and identifies how they can help their child with speaking, listening and readiness for reading.

The club has been working with the school, to establish a Story Sack library, for parents attending play and stay provision.

Wollescote Primary School serves an area of high deprivation, with over 80% of children speaking English as an additional language.”

Rotary Stourbridge has been awarded a grant from Rotary International for Ā£250 to support the Story Sack project, a further Ā£250 has been added from the club.

A story sack is a large cloth bag, containing a high quality picture book with supporting activities and materials to bring the story to life, which do not rely on the ability to read English.

These materials or resources include puppets, sort toys of the main characters, artefacts relating to items in the story and picture, letter or word recognition games.

Once established, the parentsā€™ 50p weekly donation to play and stay provision will allow for any replenishment of resources due to wear and tear.

To buy each fully-equipped story sack costs Ā£50. The story sack library requires 10 story sacks.

Rotary Stourbridge has been involved with Wollescote Primary School since 2011, and has an active Young Rotarians club with over 20 members at any one time.

The club has supported the school with a number of community projects including:

  • Funds to establish reading for pleasure book corners in the classrooms to encourage a love for reading
  • Visits to Birmingham City University to find out who goes to a university
  • Visit to Symphony Hall to hear classical musicians
  • Rotary Club lunches to meet with Rotarians
  • Young Rotarian Award

Over the past two years, the Young Rotarians have raised funds for Disaster Relief Boxes, ShelterBox, Birmingham Childrenā€™s Hospital and for the local foodbank.

Andrew Scudamore, President of Rotary Stourbridge, said: ā€œWe are proudĀ  to continue to support educationĀ  atĀ  theĀ  school, helping to make a real differenceĀ  andĀ  supportĀ  ā€˜Young Rotariansā€™Ā  inĀ  theirĀ  fundraisingĀ  efforts,Ā  in theĀ  localĀ  community.ā€

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