03 March 2021  |  G Denison

A new and exciting Short Story Club has had a successful start, despite the challenges of the Covid pandemic and remote learning. Mr Murphy’s Short Story Club, which is open to all Year 7 pupils, was implemented at the start of January 2021 and has had 8 successful weeks of engagement with students.

“Originally, we had planned for the club to start towards the end of the Autumn term and be conducted after school and in-person,” says Mr Murphy, founder of the club, “but Covid presented us with restrictions and after the Prime Minister’s announcement that schools were to operate remotely from the start of the Spring term, we decided to make the club remotely accessible in a similar way to our lessons.”

The club has run every Wednesday at 4pm since the beginning of the Spring term. Stories and creative writing resources are distributed by Mr Murphy via Google Classroom every week for pupils to access and read ahead of the club’s meeting which takes place online. Despite the need for remote access, members of the Short Story Club have still been able to enthusiastically participate in the club which sees a range of activities undertaken to engage pupils with literature, broaden their love of reading, and develop their literacy skills.

“The club has opened up a new opportunity for people to enjoy fun activities and reading,” says Billy, a founding member of the club, “it also lets us express our creativity.”

Pupils not only sample a varied selection of literature to explore, but also engage in creative writing of their own. Recently, pupils have drafted their own mini-fictions of 100 words or less to enter into a creative writing competition.

“It’s been highly enjoyable,” says Lilliana, another founding member, “because we are able to openly share our ideas and opinions. I’ve also found it exciting to have a go at penning our own stories and have the chance to win prizes in national creative writing competitions that Mr Murphy knows about.”

It isn’t just pupils who have been inspired by the club’s recent endeavours. Parents of club members have taken the opportunity to get in on the action as a way of finding a new hobby in the lockdown era we all find ourselves in. 

I consider the club such a gift,” reports Ms Causley, mother of Kate, yet another founding member of the club, “Kate is, and has been for some time, a very reluctant reader. I find it amazing that she has embraced it in the enthusiastic way that she has and it can only help her with her confidence and ability going forward. The latest task of writing a story has stretched our powers of imagination and we have had so much fun trading ideas. As an avid reader myself, I struggled to identify with Kate’s reluctance to read and to get ‘lost’ in a story. Short Story Club has ignited a spark of interest and has added such a new dimension to our relationship. It’s something new that we can do together and it gives me such pleasure to see ideas and thoughts forming that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. It’s a fabulous opportunity!”

The club is set to continue as remote learning comes to an end from Monday 8th March and pupils return to classroom learning. Whatever way it manages to get delivered, despite the pandemic, it seems Short Story Club is here to stay!

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