Memorial for Bill Kenwright from The RYTC

The RYTC team was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and patron Bill Kenwright CBE. 

Bill was a partner, father, grandfather, great friend and patron. He will be missed by many and this is testament to his giving nature and impact on the theatre and creative arts space. The team wanted to honour his legacy and influence with this memorial page.

The RYTC’s Artistic Director started her career in Bill Kenwright’s work family. Bill told her to go and open her own youth theatre, because ‘being creative is so important for our kids!’ His mantra… “go and do it”!! And if “it” is right – then you can’t fail.”

To name only a fraction of the awards and achievements Bill received are the notable honour of a CBE in 2002, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Theatrical Management Association in 2008, and an honourary BBC Radio 2 special episode of Friday Night in 2017 broadcast from the London Palladium itself. Bill was nominated for a London Theatre Critics’ Award for West Side Story and a Tony Award for Blood Brothers.

This multi-award winning career saw Bill’s West End productions constantly in notable venues such as the RSC, Dominion, Palladium, Apollo and many others. Ensuring his legacy as one of the UK’s most successful theatre producers.

Bill embodied the spirit of empowering young people through creative opportunities. His legacy will be felt and continued through the many groups and communities he supported with the mission of providing opportunities to local young people. Bill made his community and generations of people richer through experiences such as finding like minds, getting creative and fostering confidence in young people.

The RYTC in memory of Bill will continue to “go and do it” as his legacy will continue to empower our team, kids and encourage everyone to be creative.

Our thoughts are with Bill’s family at this difficult time and also with the many people we know he impacted for the better.

Reading is a fundamental skill that opens doors to knowledge, creativity, and a world of imagination. For children, the journey into the realm of literature is a magical one, where they can explore new worlds, learn about different cultures, and discover the power of words.

This blog aims to explore the importance of children’s literature in fostering a love for reading and how educators can play a pivotal role in this journey.

Understanding the Nature of Reading
Reading is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s about experiencing the joy of discovery. For children, reading for pleasure is akin to embarking on an adventure, where every page reveals a new treasure. This joy is the heart of reading, a sense of delight that transcends the mere act of reading words on a page. It’s about the thrill of uncovering secrets, the excitement of solving puzzles, and the comfort of finding familiar characters in a new setting.

The Role of Teachers in Developing a Love of Reading
Teachers are the gatekeepers to the world of children’s literature. They have the unique opportunity to introduce children to a wide array of texts and authors, sparking their curiosity and igniting their love for reading. By exposing children to a broad range of genres and authors, teachers can create a reading environment that is both engaging and inclusive. Reading aloud in classrooms, selecting books that resonate with children’s interests, and allowing children to read what they enjoy without discouragement are all strategies that can foster a love for reading.

Engaging Children with Reading
Creating a culture for reading in schools is crucial. This involves setting up reading corners, encouraging children to read during free time, and celebrating reading achievements. Book recommendations and promoting reading for pleasure are also essential. By making reading a part of the school culture, teachers can ensure that children see reading as a valuable activity that enriches their lives.

Addressing the Debate on Children’s Authors
In the world of children’s literature, there’s often a debate about the credibility of authors. However, the focus should be on the quality of the story and its ability to engage and inspire children. Selecting books that resonate with children’s interests and abilities is key. Teachers can play a significant role in this by understanding their students’ preferences and recommending books that will captivate their imagination.

The Possibility of Developing a Love of Reading
The belief that a love of reading can be developed in all children is a powerful one. It’s about recognizing the potential in every child and providing them with the tools and opportunities to explore the world of literature. While not all children will grow to love reading, the focus should be on the ‘can’ rather than the ‘love’. By fostering an environment that values reading, teachers can help children develop a lifelong love for books.

Effective strategies for teachers to introduce children to a wide array of texts and authors

To introduce children to a wide array of texts and authors effectively, teachers can employ several strategies:

  • Curate Mentor Texts: Select mentor texts that are within the reading abilities of the students. These texts should serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding doors, allowing students to see themselves in the text, see themselves as the author, and see themselves as the reader. It’s crucial to choose texts that are accessible yet engaging, ensuring that students can relate to the content and the writing style
  • Connect to Student’s Readerly Lives: Encourage students to find examples of the strategies or skills being modeled in their own reading materials. This can be done by asking students to identify places in their books where the author used the same techniques or strategies being taught. This connection helps students understand how and when to apply the modeled skills in their own reading and writing
  • Use a Variety of Genres and Authors: Introduce students to a broad range of genres and authors to expose them to different writing styles, themes, and perspectives. This diversity can enrich their reading experiences and broaden their understanding of literature. It’s important to select texts that resonate with the interests and abilities of the students, ensuring that they are engaged and motivated to read
  • Incorporate Reading Aloud and Discussion: Reading aloud in classrooms and engaging in discussions about the texts can help students connect with the stories and characters on a deeper level. This can also provide opportunities for students to share their thoughts and ideas, fostering a sense of community and encouraging critical thinking
  • Create a Culture for Reading: Establish a reading culture in the classroom where reading is valued and encouraged. This can include setting up reading corners, celebrating reading achievements, and promoting reading for pleasure. By making reading a part of the school culture, students are more likely to see reading as a valuable activity that enriches their lives
  • Provide Opportunities for Independent Reading: Allow students to choose their own books to read, encouraging them to explore different genres and authors. This freedom can help students discover their own interests and passions, making reading a more personal and enjoyable experience

By implementing these strategies, teachers can effectively introduce children to a wide array of texts and authors, fostering a love for reading and enhancing their literacy skills.

Reading is a journey that begins with the first word and continues with every page turned. For children, the world of children’s literature is a magical realm where they can explore, learn, and grow. By fostering a love for reading, educators can play a crucial role in shaping the future of young readers. This love for reading is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s about experiencing the joy of discovery, the thrill of adventure, and the comfort of finding familiar characters in a new setting.

In conclusion, creating a love for reading in children is a noble and rewarding endeavor. It’s about nurturing the imagination, enriching the mind, and opening doors to a world of possibilities. Through the power of children’s literature, we can inspire a generation of readers who will continue to explore, learn, and grow.