Read and Play: a story of change

Read and Play: a story of change

Read and Play: a story of change 1916 1200 Karishma Puri

Set in a yurt surrounded by trees and vegetables, “Read and Play” is a storytelling workshop for children in Somers Town, supported by the We Make Camden Kit. Each week, a different book is selected and read in the most engaging way – the children act out parts, learn to empathise with characters and truly experience the story. Each book is carefully selected by the founder, Salina Khatun and each workshop will be entirely different from the previous.

Salina, a former full time primary school teacher, found herself becoming more embedded within her community after becoming a mother. “Living around here, having my 3rd child now, I realised how much is needed, particularly for specific demographics in this area”, she explains. To make a change, she wanted to start with what she believes to be the core of success – education; and the first thing to tackle is literacy. This is how “Read and Play” was born.

Carefully curated to stimulate, this programme brought stories into the lives of children over the age of 4, who don’t necessarily have books in their home. These stories went beyond teaching literacy. Salina expands, “I want to address issues of sustainability and diversity over storytelling – children expressing their emotions through storytelling”. She wanted to also ensure that passion was created, and that morals and values of bringing communities together were shared.

Salina Khatun, the founder of Read and Play

The popularity of these workshops grew, and with it the group of children and parents too. Salina had been telling stories since the summer of 2021, and realised that she could no longer do this alone; she needed other storytellers and people to help with the admin. She recognised that this was actually a community project and she needed to involve the community. Through conversation, she found out about the We Make Camden Kit funding, but wasn’t sure how to go about it as funding was not something she had ever had to consider.

Sue, a Camden Council Participation Officer, discussed Salina’s vision with her and explained the possible options available for her next steps. “As a participation officer, Sue guided me and I ended up applying for the We Make Camden Kit. I was actually quite taken aback because I thought it would be hard, but it wasn’t”, Salina recalls.

Salina Khatun, the founder of Read and Play, standing by some polytunnels

Growth and the future

After a few months of running “Read and Play”, Salina invited a group of teachers, midwives and nurses together to understand how they could support families of younger children who were born during Covid – families who had encountered obstacles of isolation, fear of others and anxiety. As Salina’s third child was born during the pandemic, she herself witnessed how different it was to become a new parent at this time, and pondered about all the other families of babies and toddlers in the same situation.

With this in mind she developed “Stay and Play” workshops to support families with early years children aged 0-4, with the aim to discreetly and gently create a joy and passion for reading from birth through singing and storytelling.

“The pandemic made me realise that the already disadvantaged will be further disadvantaged, so an intervention was a must, for one of our most vulnerable members of our community.”

Salina Khatun

After successfully applying for the We Make Camden Kit, Salina has now been awarded a larger grant from Camden’s Community Infrastructure Levy and has since grown her idea into an organisation called Kindle Corner. She is looking for more volunteers to become readers and will train them. If you would like to become one you can contact her at  @Kindle_Corner on Twitter, @kindlecornerkids on Instagram or email: She is also happy to share her own story in order to enlighten, educate and empower families – which is at the heart of Kindle Corner’s ethos.

Photo credits: Karishma Puri

Get involved

Salina and the team run “Read and Play” for children aged 4+ at Story Garden, on Ossulston Street, between 4-5pm every Wednesday, and run “Stay and Play” for children aged 0-4, on Thursdays from 10am-12pm in the Ossulston Estate. They are always open to share stories with new faces.

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