On 17th March we closed our ships, following government advice. But in true Literacy Pirate fashion we were determined to find a way to continue to support our Young Pirates who have been enrolled on our learning programme since September. I am really excited to say that at the start of April we launched a Virtual Ship where our Young Pirates can access writing and reading activities, tutorials and personalised feedback while they are at home.
The new Virtual Ship offers bite-sized activities accessible by mobile phone. Importantly, we can still feedback and motivate our Young Pirates to help them keep improving their writing.
Although we have always thought of ourselves as a venue-based programme, we have challenged ourselves to hold our purpose and ethos in mind and create something online. It is not about creating a fancy website; it has been about maintaining a connection between the child and teacher. The learning process is premised on that relationship.
We deliver activities not just to improve reading and writing, but also to inspire the joy of learning and the celebration of effort. We also offer tips on how to keep going when things get hard. Each of these elements has been carefully recrafted to work online. The main mechanism is through video, to introduce ideas, set activities and give feedback. Wendy, our Director of Learning said, “Watching videos is a staple part of many young people’s lives, so it seemed obvious that giving children access to the familiar faces of the Pirate Crew through video was likely to engage them.”
We are thrilled that most of our Young Pirates have boarded the Virtual Ship and have submitted work for the ‘Weekly Writing Challenges’ and diary entries for the ‘Diary of an Extraordinary Summer’ project. Together we will splurge and refine their writing and the end product will be published in an online book and a hub on our website. The children’s diaries especially are a really insightful window into what the coronavirus pandemic looks like to a UK child stuck at home.
You can get involved in our new home learning programme by following @literacypirates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and share a picture of yourselves reading with the #ProudtoBeReading so we can share with the children.
Jude Williams, CEO