A NEW project to promote a love of reading and improve literacy levels amongst schoolchildren has been taking place in Keighley.

The Keighley Links Literature Festival, which has been funded through the Birth to 19 Teaching School Alliance, will culminate in a family celebration day this weekend at Cliffe Castle Museum and Park.

It follows on from the Time Capsule and Keighley’s Christmas Carol events which were organised by Bradford Council.

Four primary schools in the town have collaborated to form Keighley Links; Riddlesden St Mary’s CE Primary School, Ingrow Primary School, Long Lee Primary School, and St Andrew’s CE Primary School.

The partnership allows schools to share ideas and best practice, and also create memorable experiences for the schools’ more than 2,000 pupils, such as the Literature Festival.

Over a three week period, year groups from each of the schools will be invited to spend a day at Cliffe Castle exploring the museum and grounds, using themes and specially chosen books to make the most of their visits.

Children will visit the park, the museum, the newly refurbished glasshouses, the animal house and the museum’s prized collections of rocks, fossils and natural sciences.

Cliffe Castle will help pupils understand, investigate and add their own subject specific vocabulary to bring the chosen themes and books to life, and help develop a love of reading.

Each year group has a different theme to write stories about. Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1 will focus their work on toys, while Year 2’s topic is dinosaurs.

Year 3 are writing stories all about dragons, Year 4 are exploring the diverse world of rainforests, and Year 5 are writing about World War II.

Time travel is the topic being covered by pupils in Year 6.

All the children’s stories and ideas will be exhibited for their families and fellow pupils to see at the family celebration day being held on Saturday, July 7.

Linda Wright, headteacher at Riddlesden St. Mary’s School, said “There is a wealth of opportunities for our children and parents to go that extra mile, collaborate with the wider community and take part in exciting events that challenge and entertain.

“Currently, our whole school is taking part in the Keighley Links Literature Festival in order to raise the profile of reading and really instil a love of reading into our children.

“So far, this has involved each year group being allocated an exciting and engaging story book, each linked to a different but specific theme.

“In the build-up to the festival we have explored the book in various ways, both in literacy and other lessons, and researched the themes covered within the book.

“During this time, we have really built up a love of reading and excitement to explore the book and its related theme further.

“With our wealth of background knowledge about the book, the schools will come together and spend an exciting day visiting Cliffe Castle where they will explore the themes further set within the amazing grounds.

“Exciting opportunities will be provided for the children whilst at Cliffe Castle, including art based activities, writing and presenting poetry, drama related activities and much more.

“This will allow new friendships to be made whilst embarking on a day-long joint learning venture, promoting collaboration and team work.”