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Virtual storytelling by South Shields primary school to encourage a love of reading

ByDave Stopher

Dec 20, 2021

A South Tyneside primary school has developed an innovative story-telling idea as it continues to spread excitement and joy about reading across the region.

Teachers and pupils at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, have recorded a number of short videos of themselves reading some classic Christmas stories that have been created.

The storytelling initiative called ‘Seek the stories, Crack the code’ will see around 22 QR codes planted across the local area, with families and children encouraged to find them, scan them and enjoy the YouTube video stories they activate.

Paul Craig, headteacher of St Joseph’s, said: “With technology continuing to change and impact our lives, we’re really focused on ensuring the love and joy that can be found in reading and listening to stories is never lost.

“Through the video stories which include classics such as The Gruffalo’s Child, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas Carol, we want to demonstrate that reading and storytelling is for everyone.

“What we’ve done is create a range of video stories which each have their own QR code. We’ve placed the QR codes stickers right across the area in shops, community centres, care homes and other public amenities, with the hope that people find them, scan them and enjoy our stories wherever they are.”

At the end of each clip, the children are told a letter of the alphabet. When all of the stories are found and listened to, they’ll be able to use all of the letters to crack a special code that will decipher a hidden message.

The online story telling initiative follows a recent successful book trail that started in October half term. St Joseph’s families and children are encouraged to take photo clues and share them with the school via email. These photos will then be shared on the school’s Facebook page to help people find the QR codes so that they can listen to the stories.

Paul said: “The aim is to find all of the QR codes and ensure all of our wonderful stories are watched and listened to.

“Reading is not only such a vital life skill it’s also a magical experience that you’re never too young or old for.

“We know how much families use their phones for both entertainment and educational purposes and we saw QR codes as the perfect medium to share stories.

“Staff and pupils have loved reading their favourite stories and we hope our families enjoy listening to them over the holidays.”

Parents of school children who find a QR code are advised to share details and a photo with the school by emailing: media@stjosephsjarrow.co.uk