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Students dress each other up in period costumes.

Telling Stories with LHT

As people across the globe prepare to celebrate the power of reading, we caught up with our Learning and Engagement team to hear about the ways reading informs what it offers to young people around Leeds.

Written by Learning and Engagement Officer Phoebe Cawley


What is World Book Day?

Established in 1995 by UNESCO, World Book Day is a charity focused on encouraging reading for pleasure and ensuring that as many young people as possible have access to books. This includes their £1 book initiative and events such as dress-up days and quizzes.

As founder Baroness Gail Rebuck said: “We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives.”

Find out more

A pair of primary school children dressed up in historical props during a workshop

Primary schoolchildren during our Ancient Greeks vs Victorians workshop. Credit Chris Coote

Did you know?

Primary school children are swapping top hats. Others are watching.

Primary school pupils taking part in a drama game. Credit Chris Coote

Reading for pleasure is the biggest indicator of a child’s future success. It is more powerful in its impact on a young person’s vocabulary, spelling and mathematics ability than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income!

In schools, teachers and leadership are working hard to ‘close the achievement gap’ between disadvantaged students and their peers, supporting these young people pastorally and academically to overcome the barriers that they face. As one of the most powerful tools we have to improving children’s futures and opportunities, encouraging and enabling a love of stories is absolutely fundamental to this mission.

Stories are at the heart of our three venues: we host storytellers, bring stories to life and our buildings have a few stories to tell themselves…

Where do we come in?

This World Book Day, our Learning and Engagement team is launching Ghosts of The Grand, a new creative writing project for KS2 students that uses our venues’ stories to inspire even the most reluctant writers to pick up a pen and tell their own ghost stories.

This six-week project will introduce students to our venues and important people from their histories (including one or two figures who may or may not still be hanging around the buildings!). By immersing young people in the world of the theatre, Ghosts of The Grand aims to build and develop their vocabulary and inspire their story writing, particularly their setting and character descriptions. The project includes two sessions at Leeds Grand Theatre, three further session plans to be delivered by teachers in school, and a final celebratory sharing led by our Learning and Engagement team.

Find out more

Six primary school pupils are performing a piece of drama in the Learning Suite.

Primary school pupils performing a drama piece. Credit Ant Robling