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Bags we won!

It started with a flash of inspiration on the part of a Swindon headteacher. Now it's in every local authority in England, supported by the Basic Skills Agency, and several other countries.

Storysacks are a simple idea. They're sacks that contain a good children's book and a variety of props, including soft toys, games and tapes. A non-fiction book linked to the story's theme and a language game is also included, along with ideas for parents and teachers to develop children's reading, listening and writing skills.

According to project director and inventor Neil Griffiths, one of the poits of this family literacy tool is that it involves the community. The sacks and their contents are handmade by parents or other volunteers, who range from members of the Women's Institute, to prison inmates .

Some teachers are using storysacks in the literacy hour for shared reading activities. Workshops on storysacks are run by the Basic Skills Agency. Earlier this year, the scheme won the European Alcuin Award for home-school innovation.

For more information, contatct Neil Griffiths, co Pinehurst Infant School, Beech Avenue, Swindon, Wilts SN2 1JT. Telfax: 01793 421168.

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