Pop-up literacy shop is a hit with shoppers

Hundreds of Peterborough families celebrated literacy by visiting the Peterborough Literacy Campaign’s pop-up literacy shop which was open for four days from 20-23 July to boost literacy levels in the city over the summer holidays.

The temporarily empty shop unit was transformed into an exciting hub of literacy activity. More than 1,200 books were given away to children and adults to take home. Families took part in arts and crafts including growing a colourful literacy tree which was decorated with over 230 leaves.

Children showed their enthusiasm for reading by writing their favourite authors and books on the leaves for the literacy tree and also adding to a list which asked why they loved reading and their favourite authors. Children wrote that reading was “amazing because they take you on adventures” “feeds your imagination” and “helps you develop new skills”. Favourite authors included Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson and John Green.

Parents and children shared books together in the literacy den and there was plenty of information on literacy available including tips on how to read more and library membership.  

The pop-up literacy shop was supported with activities and storytelling from BookTrust, The Reading Agency, ReadyEasy, Peterborough City College’s Family Learning Team and staff from Peterborough’s Banardo’s children’s centres.

Haleema Rafik, aged eight, enjoyed her visit to the pop-up literacy shop. She said: “I really liked choosing my own book to take home to keep. I can’t wait to read it at home. Decorating a leaf to put on the big tree on the wall was fun too.”

Sian Hamilton, who visited with her daughter Isabelle, aged three, said “I think this is a really good idea. Isabelle and I really enjoyed taking a break from shopping to share a story in the reading den. We’re really happy we’ve got a free book to take home too.”

Sally Atkinson said: “The shop was buzzing with books being discussed and chosen, craft activities and families settling into the reading den to share a book. The literacy tree just kept on growing –bursting with children’s thoughts on reading and books which were lovely to read.

It’s been fantastic to meet and talk  to so many people in Peterborough and have the opportunity to point them towards  literacy support in the area and recommend books.”

Jonathan Lewis, Head of Corporate Property and Children’s Resources said: “Learning happens everywhere. Children seek stimulating and different environments to engage and the City Council wanted to use this Bridge Street shop as an extension of the classroom. The former bank has been converted into a den for reading where children moved beyond the classroom with their parents and had a great time with a book and reflecting on their learning.  I was astounded by the numbers and the positive response of children to this exciting experiment – we will definitely try and support it again!”

Lesley Kelly, Senior School Improvement Adviser; Lead for Literacy at Peterborough City Council said“Literacy is the key to success in Peterborough. Seeing so many families popping in to our pop-up literacy shop this week has been great – children and adults were really motivated by the offer of free books, keen to browse and to stay and chat about books and reading.”

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