Reader-In-Residence Project (Prison Learning)


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Presentation about the reader in residence project based at HMP YOI Cornton Vale, HMP Perth Prison and HMP Polmont YOI.

Delivered at the Innovation and Development Fund conference.

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  • What is a reader-in-residence? Different from writer-in-residence. Promotes creative reading through different activities. The reader-in-residence work in Cornton Vale is inspired by the three year plan. The plan has flexibility to allow the influence of the reader-in-residence’s own experiences, vision and ideas. It can also adapt to the demands and wishes of the learners. Mari’s background was drama, Richard’s is storytelling, Scottish History, so can develop in a different direction. New projects coming on board all the time.
  • We want to engage with the two-thirds of the women in Cornton vale not currently taking part in formal education Activities are offered in a non-formal manner in an environment that is un-intimidating whilst promoting a social atmosphere of equality. Anybody can join the different activities, regardless of whether they are confident or reluctant readers. Mari’s background was theatre so she used drama exercises to explore novels and reading materials. Scenarios, storylines and characters can be brought to life in so many fun and interesting ways. Drama is such a great tool for self-expression, building confidence and trust as well as strengthening group dynamics. Richard’s is storytelling, drama, Scottish History, so he can bring the books to life in different ways.
  • Show examples of book reviews and posters
  • Working with the adult learning team in Cornton Vale. Funding now finished, but the class is continuing. Takes between 8 to 12 weeks. The sack includes both a fiction and non-fiction reading book relating to the chosen theme. The learners also make up their own stories, acrostic poems, quizzes and games. It may also contain a CD recording of the fictional book or their own unique story and a soft toy such as a puppet. A further reading list is also added.
  • AIM Use the familiarity of a child’s name to come up with a personalised poem. Promotes writing and reading skills. Write about thoughts and feelings associated with the child, or relating to one of the themes. One of the items put into Storysack TIMESCALE May take half or a full session. OUTCOME Provides a unique poem whilst fulfilling the aims of the project
  • Example of completed storysack on the theme of ‘dogs’
  • Been successful with two classes now running. Session 1 -continues to be co-tutored with a member of adult literacy team. Session 2 - co-tutored with a member of Carnegie College lecturing staff. Can be very uplifting for the tutor as you see women rising to the challenge and being extremely motivated to do something for their children. Most importantly, many of the women feel they are contributing positively to their children’s reading and personal development. Peer tutors are now assigned to each class.
  • The Book Group was initially started as the Scottish Women’s Writing group and the focus was on reading books by Scottish Women authors. Learners’ read a book over three weeks’ and they meet every Friday to read together and discuss the genre of book, style of writing, plot and characters. Example - In the Friday book group the girls read Romeo and Juliet, at one of the participant’s request. There were mixed responses to the text but there was a lot of fun acting out some of the fighting scenes in Act One.
  • Began by exploring Scottish Women’s Writing, but then moved on, due to women’s requests, to look at male authors, non-fiction, different genres and international writers. In the past year we have had author visits from Margaret Thomson Davis, Laura Marney, Jess Smith, Lesley Pearce and Alex Gray. Author visits are supported by The Live Literature Scotland fund. These events reach out to other learners who aren’t part of education.
  • The book can be a lifeline, a companion and that well-known escape into another world. Benefits of exploring different themes, stories and points of view. Example of the power that a book can have – a woman who found a book within her cell – she had never read a book before Improving skills in reading for oneself as well as public reading - now some of the learners feel confident to take part in drama events, further education classes or Easter events for the church. There are so many benefits relating to the women’s personal development by joining reading activities, as well as the obvious one of stretching their individual reading horizons. Others include: ability to discuss, vocalise personal opinions I will show you the power of it in a dvd I have of the girls speaking for themselves.
  • A new group that began in January ’08. It was created from a discussion at the book group about ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank. The learners’ come together to put down their thoughts in their own diary over a cup of coffee. Within a trusting environment, there is the opportunity to read out loud some of the personal writing and there is also a communal diary that the women can comment in each week. Learners also take part in activities looking at life goals, creative writing and positive thinking.
  • Co-tutored by reader-in-residence and Carnegie Lecturer . Emphasis is put on those films that have been adapted from a book or short story.
  • This mainly runs in the Winter months because it is too light in the Summer
  • Working with a range of partners. So, apart from the partners Stirling Libraries work with through the project, the Reader is making their own contacts and working with them = CREATE with a range of outside specialists Skipping Christmas - with ALT Mardi Gras – with prison officers Barrington Stoke , the publisher.
  • Working with Adult Learning Team and Historic Scotland, the title comes from the fact that you can see both Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument from Cornton Vale Story Book Mums is starting up, currently works in the men's prisons as Storybook Dads, using special software stories can be put onto CD and sent home to the families with a book. Means children can maintain contact.
  • We have been evaluated by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation who see it as the best example of the Free from words Project working purely down to the partnership working. We hope to have it embedded in the new Education contracts when they are being drawn up. We have now rolled out the project to Polmont Young Offenders and to Perth Prison. A booklet will be made up of all the different projects in the three establishments. Challenges are that they are all completely different. What works in one place may not work somewhere else. The more partners you have the more you have to adapt and compromise. But the more you can do, the more help you have. We are working on pre-release information to be given out to prisoners so that they can join their own community libraries on release. The challenges are that each establishment is completely different and although we can offer advice on how ours worked, it is not a one size fits all Our hope for the future is that it can be seen as beneficial to the learning process, so much so that it will be put onto the contracts of the education providers when the new contracts are drawn up.
  • Reader-In-Residence Project (Prison Learning)

    1. 1. Reader-In-Residence Project Partnership project based at HMP & YOI Cornton Vale, HMP Perth Prison, HMP Polmont YOI Funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation
    2. 2. Partnership <ul><li>Stirling Council </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Prison Service </li></ul><ul><li>Carnegie College </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Book Trust </li></ul>
    3. 3. Aims <ul><li>To promote creative reading within the prison </li></ul><ul><li>To develop reading amongst the women and their families </li></ul><ul><li>To promote use of the library </li></ul><ul><li>Create links between the women and community libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Author visit </li></ul>
    4. 4. Overall Context <ul><li>Activities are offered in a non-formal manner </li></ul><ul><li>Anybody can join the different activities </li></ul><ul><li>Used drama exercises and techniques </li></ul>
    5. 5. Activity – Library Drop-in <ul><li>The drop-in was to encourage those that were not very confident to visit the library and give some support choosing a book. </li></ul><ul><li>The library drop-in evolved into the Learner Champions Group. </li></ul><ul><li>Learner Champions Group - Working within education and the library to promote the library through writing book reviews and creating promotional material. </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Outline: Students make a sack for a child within their family. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme </li></ul><ul><li>Timeline </li></ul><ul><li>Story Sack Objectives : </li></ul><ul><li>To enhances basic literacy skills of parent and child </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain vital contact between parent and child </li></ul>Activity : Story-Sacks Project
    7. 7. Story-Sacks example Activity: Acrostic Poem <ul><ul><ul><li>C ute and cuddly, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A lways in a rush, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>T akes her teddy everywhere, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>H as a smile like the sun </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Y es that’s my little Cathy, full of fun. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Story-Sacks Images
    9. 9. Story-Sacks Images
    10. 10. Story-Sacks Images
    11. 11. Activity: Friday’s Book Group <ul><li>Outline </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple books are ordered and the learners read a book over three weeks. </li></ul><ul><li>Different genres and authors are explored. </li></ul><ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>To encourage more prisoners to read books </li></ul><ul><li>To extend the enjoyment prisoners get from books </li></ul><ul><li>To encourage prisoners to extend the type of books they read. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Multiple Copies are bought or borrowed from Stirling Libraries <ul><li>Margaret Thomson Davis A Deadly Deception </li></ul><ul><li>Isla Dewar Two Kinds of Wonderful </li></ul><ul><li>Laura Marney Only Strange People Go </li></ul><ul><li> To Church </li></ul><ul><li>Jessie Kesson The White Bird Passes </li></ul><ul><li>Mark Johnson Wasted </li></ul><ul><li>Jess Smith Bruar’s Rest </li></ul><ul><li>William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet </li></ul><ul><li>Lin Anderson Blood Red Roses </li></ul><ul><li>Lionel Shriver We Need to Talk About Kevin </li></ul><ul><li>Tsutsui Yasutaka Salmonella Men on Planet Porno </li></ul>
    13. 13. Some Author Visits <ul><li>Margaret Thomson Davis Live Literature Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Laura Marney Live Literature Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Jess Smith Live Literature Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Lesley Pearse </li></ul><ul><li>Alex Gray Live Literature Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Alan Bissett Live Literature Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Mark Thomson Live Literature Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Lin Anderson Live Literature Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Janet Paisley Live Literature Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Millie Gray Live Literature Scotland </li></ul>
    14. 14. FRIDAY BOOK GROUP Outcomes <ul><li>The power of reading a book as a group. Long term members have remained consistent. </li></ul><ul><li>Improving skills in reading for oneself as well as public reading </li></ul><ul><li>There are so many benefits relating to the women’s personal development by joining reading activities. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Activity: Diary Corner <ul><li>Outline : </li></ul><ul><li>A new group that began in January ’08. The learners come together to put down their thoughts in their own diary over a cup of coffee. </li></ul><ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Promote personal development by providing the opportunity to put down individual thoughts and feelings within a safe environment </li></ul><ul><li>Promote skills in reflection and goal setting. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Activity: Movie Discussion Group <ul><li>Outline: </li></ul><ul><li>An evening activity where learners explore different genre of films such as horror, romantic comedies, westerns and animation. </li></ul><ul><li>One film is shown over two sessions with plenty of chance to discuss plot, characters and film technique. </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to discuss range of issues and themes covered by different films. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Some Recent Films <ul><li>Planet of the Apes </li></ul><ul><li>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof </li></ul><ul><li>Burn After Reading </li></ul><ul><li>Elf </li></ul><ul><li>Wallace and Gromit </li></ul>
    18. 18. Activity: Exploring Poetry <ul><li>Outline: </li></ul><ul><li>Many of the inmates write poetry but have never read it or heard it spoken aloud. As a group, many different writers and genres of poetry are looked at. </li></ul><ul><li>Objectives: </li></ul><ul><li>To look at works of published poets to help with writing poems. </li></ul><ul><li>To have opinions and share them. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Poets/Genres Looked At <ul><li>Robert Burns </li></ul><ul><li>William McGonagall </li></ul><ul><li>Angus Campbell </li></ul><ul><li>Wilfred Owen </li></ul><ul><li>War </li></ul><ul><li>Love </li></ul><ul><li>National identity </li></ul>
    20. 20. Activity: Quick Reads Book Group <ul><li>Outline: </li></ul><ul><li>There are many emerging readers in the prison and many are intimidated or do not have the patience to read larger books. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes: </li></ul><ul><li>Some people have finished their first ever book. </li></ul><ul><li>Not just restricted the reading to books, but used newspapers and plays as well. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Other Activities <ul><li>Create </li></ul><ul><li>Skipping Christmas </li></ul><ul><li>Mardi Gras </li></ul><ul><li>One-to-one sessions with people writing their own stories to offer support </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration with the publisher Barrington Stoke to provide readers for books going through the editing process </li></ul>
    22. 22. Additional Activities 2009 <ul><li>Room with a View </li></ul><ul><li>StoryBook Mums </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish History </li></ul><ul><li>Storytelling Classes </li></ul><ul><li>Comic Life Class </li></ul>
    23. 23. Cornton Vale Cook Book <ul><li>Outline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To create a cook book using recipes gathered from the girls themselves, staff and prison officers. Also by looking at budgets, hygiene and diet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Promote healthy eating </li></ul><ul><li>Improve literacy and numeracy skills </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage cooking for kids </li></ul>
    24. 24. Roll out <ul><li>Impact of project </li></ul><ul><li>Role of different partners </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Hopes for the future </li></ul>
    25. 25. Liz Moffat Community Outreach Librarian 01786 432391 [email_address] Richard Smith Reader in Residence 01786 432391 [email_address]