Creative dyslexic people are not difficult to find: a quick search brings up giants such as Keanu Reeves, John Lennon, Cher, and Kiera Knightley. This Dyslexia Awareness Week (31st October – 6th November), the Scottish Poetry Library are on a mission to seek out and nurture this talent in Scottish schools.
Taking dyslexia-friendly poetry resources and workshops out to primary and high schools, they are breaking down barriers and harnessing the strengths of dyslexic children and young people in Scotland with their new project ‘Poetry Unravelled’.
Led by poet, and author of children’s book ‘Mission Dyslexia’, Julie McNeill, they will work with schools to encourage young people to engage with and perform poetry in their own voices.
Julie says ‘dyslexic children and young people are some of the most creative, imaginative thinkers out there. I am excited to work with schools and young people to elevate their voices and help them feel more confident about engaging with poetry in new ways.’ She continues, ‘the Scottish poetry scene is a vibrant and exciting place to be in 2022 with the return of live events and festivals it is brimming with talent. I hope to bring some of that magic into schools and inspire the next generation of Makars to add their voices to this rich fabric.’
Julie hopes to encourage young people to experiment with language and enjoy using poetry as a vehicle to express themselves, build confidence, resilience and self-esteem.
Cathy Magee Chief Executive Dyslexia Scotland says, ’We are delighted to be part of this exciting project which we hope will ignite a life-long love of words and language in dyslexic children and young people. Giving dyslexic people a voice is one of Dyslexia Scotland’s key aims and I can’t wait to see how this project enables those voices to be heard.’
SPL Director Asif Khan says ’The Scottish Poetry Library is proud to launch this new project which will bring dyslexia-friendly poetry resources into schools. We are committed to promoting accessibility and fostering a love of poetry in all our children and young people’.
More information on dyslexia, definitions and support count be found here What is dyslexia? | Dyslexia Scotland
Julie McNeill is the author of children’s book ‘Mission Dyslexia’ published by JKP Books March 2021. She is the Makar for St Mirren Football Club and The Hampden Collection and her debut pamphlet Ragged Rainbows was published by HybridDreich in 2021. Her second poetry collection is due out this year. Julie’s ‘day job’ is working with children with ASN in High Schools.
The Scottish Poetry Library project will run until June 2023 and work with four schools in Scotland providing workshops for children, teachers and parents. A webinar will also be produced which will be free for schools to download and use as a resource in their classrooms to foster a love of, and engagement with, poetry.
Julie will be delivering the workshops with support from a steering group made up of poets, teachers, teaching assistants and representatives from The Scottish Poetry Library and Dyslexia Scotland.