Children and their families welcomed the Bookstart Bear to a special story time session at Patchway Library yesterday (Wednesday 9th May) to celebrate the launch of Bookstart 20 in South Gloucestershire.
Cllr Mike Drew, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), was on hand to lead the celebrations and cut a special Bookstart birthday cake.
Bookstart is the much-loved national reading programme that gifts free books to babies, toddlers and three-year-olds and it is now in its twentieth year of operation. Several independent studies have found that reading to babies and toddlers on a daily basis is the strongest predictor of childhood development and positive educational outcomes – even more important than socio-economic factors.
Yesterday’s special storytime session was the first of a series of events taking place across South Gloucestershire to mark the national Bookstart 20 celebrations where people are being asked to make a simple pledge: share 20 books with children this year.
South Gloucestershire library service is inviting residents to sign up to the pledge by visiting your local library or Surestart Children’s Centre or online at: www.booktrust.org.uk/bookstart20. The campaign is supported nationally by well known faces including HRH the Duchess of Cornwall and Colleen Rooney.
Cllr James Hunt, SGC’s Executive Member for Communities, said:
“The value of reading to children can never be under estimated and South Gloucestershire Council has an excellent track record of supporting and encouraging parents to read to their children. I hope this campaign will encourage everyone to make the effort of reading just 20 books to children this year.”
South Gloucestershire libraries offer free story time and rhyme time sessions each week for children up to the age of four and all pre school children can join the Bookstart Bear club at their library. For further information see: www.southglos.gov.uk/libraries.
At Patchway Library, storytime (term time only) and wriggle and rhyme time (term time and throughout the holidays) sessions are staged on alternate Wednesdays at 10:30am. The library also runs a Chatterbooks session once a month on a Saturday between 2pm and 3pm.
Another special storytime session, ‘The Queen’s Tea Party’, is planned for Wednesday 6th June at 10:30am, to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Photo 1: Emma Fisher (Librarian) and Cllr Mike Drew (Chair of South Gloucestershire Council) join the Bookstart Bear at Patchway Library to celebrate the 20th birthday of Bookstart.
Photo 2: Cllr Drew watches the special storytime session.