Friday, 4 September 2015

How can you engage students in literacy this month?

Tuesday 8th September marks International Literacy Day. If you didn’t know already, this is a day recognised and supported across the world, every year.

"Approximately 775 million people- 64% of whom are women- are functionally illiterate. In other words, they lack the basic reading and writing skills to manage daily living and employment tasks."
World Literacy

This is one of the reasons this day is held; to raise awareness of such shocking figures and help in whatever way we can to reduce this figure. There are several ways to get involved.

Recommended by World Literacy, you could host an event in school. Not only will this complement the brilliant work already happening there, but it can help promote the wider cause. This gives the opportunity for parents to be more involved, possibly other members of the students’ families, and it could be made into an event for a cluster of schools in your area or even a community thing. It may also be worth contacting your local newspaper, radio or TV station too.

Some suggestions by International Literacy Day are:

  • Readathon

    Inspire students with a reading challenge. Students may have to read as many books as they can in a week, or try something from a different genre perhaps. Parents and families could sponsor them!

  • Writing competitions

    Encourage your class/school/community of young people to bring out their creativity and imagination. It could be on a specific theme, they may have to include certain words or it can be open.

  • Open mic night

    This can link to the above point – students could share their work. An alternative would be a mixture. Teachers and students may be invited to read out what they’ve written, act out a play/show they have drafted or perhaps simply read out their favourite piece, whether that’s a poem, a page of a book or something else.

  • Host a speaker

    The focus here could be on how literacy has had an impact on their lives. If this isn’t possible, a Skype conversation with them and your class/school could work wonders.

  • Book sale/exchange

    This one is quite self-explanatory. World Literacy suggest funds of this (or the sponsored readathon or open mic night) could go towards building a library for children in developing nations.

There are plenty more ideas on the website. If you have any of your own, or if you’re already celebrating in school, leave us a comment!

What about us?

We have made three of our collaborative learning iPad apps completely FREE for September. These can be used to engage students in reading and writing, and we hope you enjoy them...

Under 8s: Amy

This app asks the students  “Why didn’t Amy go to school today?” On screen, the children (in pairs) are given 15 illustrated slips which each have a bit of information on them. These snippets are a lot easier to read than a bulk of text. They must work together to think of names for groups that the slips can go into and then they write a short answer at the end.

Download on the App Store:
Get more information on our website:

8-11s: Cup and ring marks

For slightly older students, this app looks at Neolithic and Bronze Age traditions and the mystery of cup and ring marks. It breaks up a good amount of information into easily-digestible pieces for students to work through together. As the apps are designed for working on in pairs, there’s valuable support from each other as they read the snippets and think about the topic.

Download on the App Store:
Get more information on our website:

11-14: WW1 Trenches

This is a brilliant tool to encourage writing. Students are immersed in the story of fictional war veteran Tommy Murphy. They’re told how his diary, from his days in the World War One trenches, has been found . There are two objectives the teacher can choose from. One is to ask students to discuss/write an answer to whether the physical or mental dangers in the trenches were more serious. The other is to put them in a reporter’s shoes: “Your editor has asked you to look through the diary and some history books to write an article about the trenches.”

Download on the App Store:
Get more information on our website:


As you know, literacy is such an important skill. You’re already helping make a difference. If you are hosting an event, remember to register on online! This doesn’t commit you to anything, but ensures you get a pack including things like a certificate for winning students and a sponsorship form.


You can also get an extra free trial to our new creation tool for iPads – it can be used by teachers and students. Click here to find out more.

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