Swindon Stories and GWR launch reading competition

By Jessica Durston - 15 July 2021


Reading Adventures is the name of the new initiative to support primary pupils into secondary education.

  • Reading Adventures' ticket to a distant land of imagination

    Reading Adventures' ticket to a distant land of imagination

Swindon Stories, the National Literacy Trust and Great Western Railway have joined forces to launch the competition for KS2 children aged between 7 and 11 in the Swindon area.

Anish Harrison, Hub Manager of Swindon Stories, said: “We are thrilled to be launching our GWR Reading Adventures. This competition taps into Swindon’s historic past, whilst inviting children to use reading and writing to create their own worlds, full of adventure. 

“I’d like to thank GWR for making this happen, it is a real privilege to facilitate a project which involves so much of Swindon’s past, for our children now.”

Swindon Stories, a literacy campaign delivered by the National Literacy Trust, Swindon Borough Council and WH Smith, has formed this initiative as part of the charity’s summer plans to support children as they transition from primary to secondary school.

The activities will include the following:

  • The gifting of over 500 books to primary schools and families across the town alongside free booklet of activities inspired by Isambard Brunel, whose inventions connected Victorian England to the rest of the world via the railway and sea
  • A creative writing contest with a theme of voyage and discovery
  • Workshop with Prime Theatre, ticket to Steam Museum and family day out to Weston-Super-Mare for the winning school
  • Family friendly events with circus skills workshop, including diabolo, plate spinning and flower sticks from Circus performer Darine, from Flanagan events, during the book giveaway near Debenhams, on Saturday July 17, 11am – 2.30pm

The Reading Adventures competition will run through the summer holidays and include three book giveaway events at various locations around the town to promote reading for pleasure in Key Stage 2 children. With attendance from Swindon Libraries and Swindon Borough Council, families will be given the chance to learn more about their local library and the positive impact it has on their child’s learning.

GWR Community Manager Emma Morris said: “We’re delighted to partner with the National Literacy Trust for the GWR Reading Adventures Project. There are so many fun-filled activities to enjoy and we’d encourage children to climb on board and let their imaginations travel.

“There’s nothing more exciting than a train journey to take you on a new adventure. Nearly all of us have peered out of a train window and allowed our minds to wander, making up stories of what might lie beyond the rolling hills, city tower blocks or sandy beaches.

“Now children can go on a GWR Reading Adventure from the comfort of their own home!”

School pupils will take home a bespoke booklet packed with literacy-based activities and a great outdoors booklist that aims to inspire a summer of reading. The booklet also includes a postcard competition, inviting children to create their own 'magical worlds.' They will be encouraged to explore the world around them through their imagination, write about any new friends they meet, the sights they see and any discoveries they make.

The competition closes on September 22 and the school with the best postcards will win an exclusive workshop with Prime Theatre, a free visit to Steam and family ticket to Weston-Super-Mare. This can be run as a whole class project or even a whole school celebration of the worlds visited when reading.

Mark Powell, Artistic Director of Prime Theatre, said: “Prime & NLT love taking children on imaginative journeys both to other experiences and to what they themselves can become. It’s great we can work together on this project to explore the great outdoors and the great indoors of their creative brains too. Our active drama workshops will allow each pupil to succeed in ways they might not have known possible.”

As part of Swindon Stories' ongoing project mission, it will be donating books to schools and children who need literacy support most, in communities across Swindon.

Young Poets Swindon are creating a guided walk created in partnership with a poet, to inspire the writing outcomes of Year 7 students as part of the GWR initiative.

Schools and families can access the free booklet and more information about the project on the Swindon Stories webpage at https://literacytrust.org.uk/communities/swindon/

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