Families in Swindon are encouraged to get outside and practise their communication and literacy skills in the great outdoors this summer with a new Lost Words Trail around the town.
As part of the Swindon Stories campaign, the trail will take families to eight leisure and arts venues around Swindon town centre, where they will find a nature-themed word displayed on an outside window or floor. At each location families can also take part in a simple activity on the trail map, which will encourage them to talk about the lost word they have found and the environment they are in.
The Lost Words Trail is inspired by the book The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, which has proved exceptionally popular in reconnecting children with landscape and nature words that are falling out of common usage. Research suggests that children have a much deeper and broader understanding of the world around them if they experience the outdoors. Spending time outside as a family gives children the chance to talk about their surroundings, learn new words and improve their communication skills.
Swindon Stories was launched by the National Literacy Trust and Swindon Borough Council in February this year, supported by WHSmith. It encourages the whole town to make reading, writing and talking a priority, with a range of projects and initiatives to give young people the literacy skills they need to succeed in life.
Once families have found and filled in three or more words, they can drop their Lost Word Trail map off at Swindon Central Library and will be entered into a prize draw to win books and shopping vouchers.
As well as the library, the lost words can also be found at:
- GWR Park, Faringdon Road
- Wyvern Theatre
- Museum of Computing
- Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
- Swindon Arts Centre
- Swindon Town Gardens
The trail launched on Saturday 4 August and will run throughout the summer holidays. Free copies of the Lost Words Trail map are available at each of the participating venues and more information can be found at swindonstories.org.uk.
Anish Harrison, Manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Swindon, said: “We’re really lucky in Swindon to have both beautiful buildings and lovely outdoor spaces, and we’re delighted to be able to profile them both with this great new trail! We hope the activities will encourage children and parents alike to form literacy habits that will increase their confidence, and inspire them to interact more with each other and the environment around them.”
Cabinet Member for Corporate and Customer Services, Councillor Keith Williams, added: "The Swindon Stories Lost Words Trail provides a fantastic opportunity for families to spend time together and enjoy the sights of Swindon town centre this summer. The activities on the trail map will help children to improve their communication skills over the holidays and learn lots of new words to describe the world around them.”