Children from Cottingley Primary Academy took to the stage on Monday 24 June to perform live with MC Grammar, who has recently featured on BBC Breakfast, This Morning and The Ellen Show after going viral for rapping The Gruffalo while reading to his daughter.
The children are also participating in workshops by MC Grammar – otherwise known as award-winning teacher and English consultant Jacob-Nicholas Mitchell.
Students from across the school participated in lively and skilful performances of MC Grammar hits The NOUN Song, The Antonym Song and The FANBOYS Song (on connectives “for, and, nor, but, or” and “yet”) among others.
Local parent Hayley Guy (mum to Dylan, Lauren and Tia-Nancy who all attend Cottingley Primary) AKA “MC Burp” also braved the stage to perform a freestyle rap about chickens.
The event was organised by Cottingley Primary Academy English Lead teacher, Hannah Marshall. Speaking with Helen, Hannah explained:
“We have been working with Jacob for two years now as part of ongoing work with the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) that Cottingley Primary is part of. This initially began with the Resilient Reader approach to teaching reading skills and has now incorporated the MC Grammar raps to support children with developing their grammatical knowledge.”
We are passionate about creating a reading culture and fostering a love of reading, so we’ve been focusing on making English lessons exciting, engaging and relatable for students.
“As well as staff training we have done lots of work on reading for pleasure, and parents have been part of this too. We have organised a ‘bedtime story day’, where children came to school in their pyjamas, and a ‘Superhero reading day’.
“Next week we are taking the children to the Philip Howard independent bookshop in Roundhay to buy some books for our new library.
“The book trip has been made possible through £500 funding, which I applied for through the Siobhan Dowd Trust to spend on books for our new library.”
The new Cottingley Primary Academy library has recently been built and will be opening with a launch event at the end of September.
Parents have also donated books, with donor stickers being placed in each book. Anyone who would like to support the campaign can do so by buying a book through the Amazon Wishist the school has set up. Search “Cottingley Primary Academy” on Amazon Wishlists.
MC Grammar explained the impact that reading books can have.
“I read lots of books and it’s changed my life. Ten weeks ago, I read The Gruffalo to my daughter and posted the video on YouTube. Since then, I have been invited over to America to appear on The Ellen Show, and the video has now has a million views. If reading one book can change my life, just think what reading two, three, four or more books can do for yours!”
Speaking exclusively with Helen Robinson after the show, MC Grammar explained why he devised the Resilient Readers programme.
He quoted a recent Department for Education (DfE) poll, which found that 300,000 toddlers have never been read a nursery rhyme by their parents.
“As well as working with schools, I run rap workshops in prisons and detention centres. I meet a lot of young people who struggle with reading and don’t do well at school. It’s not that these young people aren’t intelligent. It’s that they don’t know how to articulate themselves. And this all starts really early on, with reading books. That is why I’m travelling round the UK spreading this message about the importance of reading.”