Sitting among the Year 7 students, you could sense the buzz.
Huddled together in small groups, the 11-year-olds (each proudly wearing a sticker marking them out as ‘Editor’, ‘Advertising Director’ or ‘Designer’) brainstormed ideas for their own magazine creation – coming up with a name, thinking about their target audience, designing a front cover.
The exercise is part of the MagAid lesson plan devised by the National Literacy Trust to support the project’s second pilot. It is running at three schools across the country in Folkestone, West London and Middlesbrough, and the results will be instrumental in taking MagAid forward into its next phase.
The feedback appears to be positive: students are enjoying the lesson content, working collaboratively, and are genuinely enthused by the magazines (helped by the opportunity to select a title to keep for themselves). Also, crucially, teachers are finding magazines to be a useful (and pretty-much untapped) medium for reaching readers with varied literacy skills.
We’ll find out more about where the pilots have succeeded and where they might need developing in the coming weeks but, for now, a thank you to all the schools and teaching staff involved; to the National Literacy Trust for putting the programmes in place; and to everyone whose donations are helping make MagAid a success.