Young Cornish bookworms given reading boost
Babies in Cornwall could grow up to be among the most literate in Britain in the light of a hugely successful scheme to boost reading skills.
In the last decade, more than 350,000 books have been given to babies and children in Cornwall over the past ten years to encourage them to take their first steps in the world of books.
The county is in the top five per cent of the country for its high levels of gifting books to youngsters through the Bookstart programme.
So far, more than 100,000 packs of books worth around £1.4m have been given to children to help inspire a love of reading thanks to the efforts of library services, registrars and teachers.
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Bookstart co-ordinator Deborah Averill said the scheme would pay dividends with research showing that encouraging a love of reading at a young age helps children to develop literacy and communication skills and become confident and enthusiastic learners.
“Reading is very important to a child’s development,” she
“Reading either to or with your child for at least ten minutes every day not only creates a very special bond between parent and child, but also provides a vital building block in developing young readers.”
The Bookstart programme is run by Booktrust, an independent national charity that encourages people of all ages and cultures to engage with books.
With support provided through a unique public and private partnership, publisher support and government funding, the programme works through local authorities and health partners to provide free Bookstart packs to babies and toddlers.
Cornwall’s Library Service was one of the first in the country to partner with the registration service to gift the packs when parents register the birth of their child.
The trail blazing partnership has resulted in a 100per cent gifting of Bookstart packs in Cornwall, said Veronica Eagles, Cornwall’s County Registrar of Births and Deaths.
“Cornwall Registration Service has been working in partnership with Cornwall Library Service since April 2010 to gift the initial Bookstart pack when parents register the birth of their child,” she said.
“For staff in the Registration Service it is very rewarding to be part of this initiative which highlights the fact that it is never too early to start reading to babies and young children.
“Parents are delighted to receive the Bookstart pack which contains three books and a bookmark providing information about the family information service.”
The programme also has the enthusiastic support of Andrew Wallis, cabinet member for children and young people.
He said: “As a dad myself I know how important it is for parents to spend time reading with their children.”