It's time to get it write!
Hand on heart I have no idea what a media release is.
I’m not interested in headlines that deflate; I’m interested in solving a great big hairy problem that requires more than a headshake, shoulder shrug, politically correct answer or finger pointing exercise.
You see on our watch, we have let down a whole generation of kids. My kids, your kids, our kids. How so?
If you can read the headlines, 25% of our kids don’t meet minimum literacy requirements. If positions on a table matter, we sit between Bulgaria and Romania at number 39. If you look closely, where English is your first language we sit at the bottom of the education list. Yes, the bottom.
What number is the right number that gets rid of the headline chatter? When did this become a normal conservation and we continued with our very busy, very important day?
In the beginning
Listening to Peter and the Wolf by the Russian Orchestra on YouTube, I explained what an oboe was. My daughter and friend, inspired by what they’d heard, created their own book in their handwriting with their illustrations. They used coloured pencils and good old fashion A4 paper. It was so perfect and they photocopied it, folded it, stapled the pages and lined the books up on display, ready to share and show their friends their newly-formed library.
5 hours after they’d started, they were still writing and engaged, self-directed and absorbed by purpose, aged 7 and 8. Receipt books on hand for willing buyers or borrowers of their books from their library for the entire street to read. Yes ordinary, everyday kids, no labels attached or required.
It was a magic moment that allowed me to time travel into their minds. My need? To capture and surprise them with “a for real life book,” printed, bound and 100% theirs.
Anything I found, wanted to change it by typing their words or using other people’s illustrations. It did not respect the authenticity of their handwriting and illustrations. I found the options sterile, imperfect for my needs and not 100% my kid’s book. So, I started to create Littlescribe.
It's actually very simple
There is nothing clever or smart about Littlescribe. It’s actually very simple.
We capture the magic of a child’s story in their handwriting; we honour it and we share it as a digital book and make it into a “a for real life book”, that is printed and posted via snail mail. So it can be read again and again and again.
They are funny, candid, deep, complex, simple and honest books.
No copy and paste, or auto correct. It’s just 100% real.
As we tested, failed, succeeded, failed again and keep working on Littlescribe we continue to learn.
We have no studies, no reports, no data.
Real stories, teachers that inspire kids, to work together and independently, who are focused, absorbed and engaged. Parents who cried with pride as timid kids slowly discovered their Littlescribe.
We have kids writing books to kids overseas where English is their second language. How would someone in Holland pronounce echidna? They decided to spell it phonetically “eekidna.” They also drew it. Suddenly the sense of an audience as they write, has meaning. One page, one sentence alone, shows this child is now a teacher; scientist, artist, ambassador, newfound friend and author… aged 8.
Imagine a child in hospital and isolation for weeks. Only mum and dad allowed contact. Personal, funny, crazy intelligent stories, written by friends and read by the bedside, moments of engagement, distraction and normality key to mental health healing and hope – for all. Today we are proud to say we are doing that at Sydney Children’s Hospital School.
A gem of a teacher working with kids of all abilities discovers Littlescribe. On its journey Littlescribe is soon to be used as a social story tool, always on hand to help kids master daily skills. Imagine your gorgeous child that needs and does well with structure and routine. The bus misses their stop. In their hand, the story of “The Bus Stop.” It’s written, in familiar warm hand writing, it’s been read, shared practiced for this exact possibility. In their hand is the comfort of a story and a well-rehearsed plan. Today we are proud to say we are working on this with Royal Far West – our hosts for tomorrows launch.
Who made up all the rules?
We are asked by all the experts where is the “stickability” and gamification? “It won’t work without it!” It’s a fact, it’s true that.
We have heard many rules and found others. We asked Littlescribes and Bigscribes alike, “why do you think there are no libraries of books by kids for kids? Why are there no kid authors? In fact, where are the kid authors and books?“.
We heard, “we might spell things wrong; kids make mistakes they think we are not professionals, but we are; I have not thought about that.” The list is long; the spelling rule is repeated and repeated and repeated as a mantra. It’s a fact, it’s true that.
Who made up that rule? So, poor content and great spelling make a worthy book? I hope not. But the unsaid is a response, it’s a fact, it’s true that.
Let’s apply the logic. Ok kids, “You need to practice rugby and netball twice a week. Keep practicing until you don’t make a mistake or leave school and then you can play a “real game,” at Allianz Stadium. Yes, practice the violin, but do not play at the Opera House.
That’s the message our kids believe.
That’s the message we don’t think about. It’s a fact, it’s true that.
So, in the world of upside and back the front, where red pens are celebrated and cuddles misunderstood, we took a torch to the rulebook.
No gamification, no literacy rules that discourage the courage to write. In the world of Littlescribe every child is an author waiting to be discovered.
In fact we made up a word, because you can. We gave it a definition and created our Littlescribe language. It’s called literacy leadership, fun and yes, it’s very megabonkeramus.
We created a tool that rewards kids to find their own spelling mistakes, we turned off auto correct and turned on their brain, their editing skills, their pride and purpose – it’s in the teacher tool kit for schools.
In the meantime, we believe every word, every page, every book, every child, every day there are magic moments waiting to inspire and engage a nation.
Within the simplicity of our process, deep-learning outcomes can be found, referred to as hands on, heads on, hearts on. Using your hands to write and draw, your head to review your digital story, emotional connection to your work and the full circle moment of hands on, as they touch the pages of their own book and read their words their stories, again and again and again.
This process anchors new learning on existing well-founded memory banks. It makes it easier to process and create context for new information. It’s a full cycle learning process that simply deepens at every touch point.
There is nothing clever or smart about Littlescribe. It’s actually very simple.
We believe kids thrive on purpose.
We believe in progress not perfection.
We believe Littlescribes, are to be treated like Bigscribes, so we do.
We believe a nation wants to read and celebrate authentic Littlescribe stories.
Let's rewrite the story together
We ourselves, are a story in the making. Perhaps most likely, not even chapter 1 more like kindy day 1.
A story of a teacher and mum who stopped a nation talking and got a nation writing, reading and sharing.
Where Bigscribes with big titles on business cards like VBIP (Very Busy Important Person) put down their phones and picked up a pen, ideally a really big crayon.
Caravan parks full of Greyscribes gathered around card tables and wrote stories their grandchildren think are fantastical, fictional and fabulous. No copy and paste, or auto correct. It’s all just 100% real, content too.
Look to Connells Point Public School, where 500 megabonkeramus authors will be born. Mums, find with pride at the bottom of the bag, a story waiting to be shared. Dads grab their kid’s book, read beyond each page and the end of the book. Neither mistake the magic moment of megabonkeramus.
Watch out for Megabigscribes, with Bigscribe hearts and muscle, we can’t wait to meet to you. Together we start book dates with kids whose ups and downs know no bounds. We agree, every child has the right to write.
Together we form a pact, a pact that learning is forever and for everyone. We have started relationships with Not for Profits that focus on literacy and added Littlescribe to their tool kit. Megabigscribes… we need you.
We are a story in the making where 3.5 million Aussie school kids will wear megabonkeramus with pride, play havoc with Wikipedia’s definition of a new found word, and where #megabonkeramus is not a trend, rather every wo-mans best friend.
In 2018 our mission is very simple. Every Aussie kids writes an original book.
As families, neighbourhoods, schools and a nation, we will discover hand written books under tables, pillows, cubby houses, and nursing homes. Stories will be dusted off, captured, shared and we will learn what to treasure.
So Dear Media,
Where your bread and butter relies on the power of the written word, on the literate, I ask with hand on heart, what is a media release?
A heading, full of doom and gloom?
Or the story of a made up word, that inspired a nation and asked ‘Where are all the kid authors and books written by kids for kids?’.
And a nation decided it’s actually pretty simple.
It’s time to get it write, it’s time to get megabonkeramus.