Doncaster stars champion literacy in We’re Going on a Bear Hunt video
Local literacy campaign, Doncaster Stories, has brought Doncaster’s celebrities and role models together for a special reading of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (Walker Books).
The likes of Elliot Sprakes, who starred in the BBC’s adaptation of Billionaire Boy by David Walliams, Thomas Howes, a regular in Downton Abbey and Gentleman Jack, and children’s author and illustrator Liz Million appear alongside local teachers and community leaders in a creative storytelling video created by Doncaster Stories.
Doncaster Stories, which is run by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with the Doncaster Opportunity Area, campaigns to boost literacy levels in the town by spreading a love of reading and helping young people achieve their full potential. The video compilation features some of Doncaster’s best loved role models, who all read one line of the story, to help children feel inspired about reading and sharing stories.
Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that children who enjoy reading are significantly more likely to have good mental wellbeing, and are three times more likely to read above the expected standard for their age.
 However, as many as 19,000 children in the North East do not have a book of their own. As well as bringing a story to life with some familiar faces, this video enables children to enjoy story time in an accessible way.
The We’re Going on a Bear Hunt video can be watched for free on the Doncaster Stories website, on their
Facebook page or on the Doncaster Stories Youtube channel.
Phil Sheppard, Senior Project Officer, Doncaster Stories said: “We wanted to create something to encourage reading in a fun and light-hearted way. Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt is a favourite amongst families, especially during the lockdown in which people have been putting teddies in their windows to create their own neighbourhood bear hunts. We hope that the video is a reminder that reading can bring people together and that sharing stories is not only fun but can also really help to support people’s wellbeing. I’m pleased that so many local people wanted to get involved - such role models can have a huge influence on sparking a child’s love of reading and stories.”
This is just one of many ways that Doncaster Stories has been opening up the world of stories for children during lockdown. The campaign has also organised book drops at foodbanks, schools, and Family Hubs across the town and has donated over 1,000 books to local children since lockdown measures were brought in. As a response to school closures, Doncaster Stories also launched a Facebook page where families can find enjoyable literacy themed activities that are all available for free. There is also content tailored to the local area including weekly writing challenges that are inspired by Doncaster’s landmarks, displays, and history.
Visit the Doncaster Stories Facebook page, website (doncasterstories.org.uk) or YouTube channel to watch the video.