Children create Christmas story trail in Jarrow to help bring joy and boost reading in South Tyneside

Children and staff at South Tyneside primary school have created a festive trail combining the Christmas storytelling tradition with online technology to help spread some joy.

Children from St Joseph's Catholic Primary School with one of the QR codes.
Children from St Joseph's Catholic Primary School with one of the QR codes.

Teachers and pupils at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, have recorded a number of short videos of themselves reading some classic Christmas stories.

The storytelling initiative called ‘Seek the stories, Crack the code’ will see around 22 QR codes planted across the local area, with families and children encouraged to find them, scan them and enjoy the YouTube video stories they activate.

Paul Craig, headteacher of St Joseph’s, said: “With technology continuing to change and impact our lives, we’re really focused on ensuring the love and joy that can be found in reading and listening to stories is never lost.

Children from St Joseph's Catholic Primary School with one of the QR codes.

“Through the video stories which include classics such as The Gruffalo’s Child, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas Carol, we want to demonstrate that reading and story telling is for everyone.

“What we’ve done is create a range of video stories which each have their own QR code. We’ve placed the QR codes stickers right across the area in shops, community centres, care homes and other public amenities, with the hope that people find them, scan them and enjoy our stories wherever they are.”

At the end of each clip, the children are told a letter of the alphabet. When all of the stories are found and listened to, they’ll be able to use all of the letters to crack a special code that will decipher a hidden message.

The online story telling initiative follows a recent successful book trail that started in October half term.

Children from St Joseph's Catholic Primary School with one of the QR codes.

St Joseph’s families and children are encouraged to take photo clues and share them with the school via email.

These photos will then be shared on the school’s Facebook page to help people find the QR codes so that they can listen to the stories.

Paul said: “Reading is not only such a vital life skill it’s also a magical experience that you’re never too young or old for.

“We know how much families use their phones for both entertainment and educational purposes and we saw QR codes as the perfect medium to share stories.

“Staff and pupils have loved reading their favourite stories and we hope our families enjoy listening to them over the holidays.”

Parents of school children who find a QR code, are advised to share details and a photo with the school by emailing: [email protected]

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