The National Literacy Trust (NLT) and Audible have teamed up to bring audiobooks to young people in custody, as well as introducing podcast-making lessons.
Run at Feltham Young Offenders Institution, it is part of the NLT's Inside Stories with Audible project, which aims to help young people develop their communication and literacy skills and improve their confidence through a range of audio activities.
As part of this project, Audible and National Prison Radio (NPR) supported groups with podcast making sessions, where young people learned about storytelling, interview techniques, editing skills, recording, reflection and listening.
Thirty audiobook devices, pre-loaded with a range of titles selected by the cohort, were also installed as a result of the partnership. Among the selected titles were The Beast by Adebayo Akinfenwa (Headline), and Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking (Hodder & Stoughton), alongside Audible Originals including In Search of Black History by Bonnie Greer, Bill Bryson's Appliance of Science and Days that Changed the World by Carrie Gibson.
Participants were visited by award-winning podcast host, spoken-word artist, poet and rapper George the Poet, who helped with their creative writing. Alexandra Curran and Jonathan Williams from Audible helped to develop storytelling skills and Hilary Ineomo-Marcus, a former NPR producer, who taught the participants interview skills. The podcasts were then aired on NPR which is broadcast into 80,000 prison cells in England and Wales.
On the introduction of the audiobook devices into the institute, Patrick Allen, head of education said: “The introduction of the audio devices to Feltham has been a revelation. Our lessons went from being almost entirely paper based, to having interactive resources which have already improved learner engagement and behaviour. Feedback from teachers and learners has been overwhelmingly positive. We will build on this success by expanding the use of the tablets, with the help of our partners the National Literacy Trust and Audible.”
Kevin Addley, Audible's UK country manager, said: “It’s been a privilege to work closely with the National Literacy Trust to improve literacy levels and provide skill-based training to the young people at HMYOI Feltham through this collaboration. Inside Stories with Audible is a testament to creativity and joy that can come from podcast making and access to audiobooks, and we’re delighted to have been able to support the participants. The work they’ve produced has been incredibly moving and inspiring to listen to and we look forward to continuing this project.”