By Alan Bolwell

Families in Hastings are encouraged to get outside and practise their communication and literacy skills this summer with a new Lost Words Trail around the town.

As part of the Get Hastings Reading campaign, the trail will take families to eight locations along the seafront to find a nature-themed word at each venue. Families will be encouraged to take part in simple activities along the way to get them talking about the great outdoors and the lost words they have found.

The Lost Words Trail is inspired by The Lost Words: A Spell Book, written by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris, and features beautiful words and artwork from the book. It aims to reconnect children with nature and the great outdoors by exploring words that are falling out of common usage. Research suggests that children have a much deeper and broader understanding of the world around them if they experience the outdoors. Spending time outside as a family gives children the chance to talk about their surroundings, learn new words and improve their communication skills.

Get Hastings Reading was launched by the National Literacy Trust and Hastings Opportunity Area in January this year to improve the literacy outcomes of children and young people in Hastings and promote a love of reading throughout the town.

As families complete the trail, they will also find letters which they can unscramble to reveal a hidden word. They can then use their hidden word to enter a prize draw to win a beautiful copy of The Lost Words: A Spell Book or family tickets to a show at the White Rock Theatre. Families can enter the draw by emailing [email protected] or by dropping their Lost Word Trail map off at Hastings Library.

The trail launches on Friday 24th May and will run through to the end of the summer holidays, and the competition closes at the end of August.

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