Children from Ravenscroft Nursery in east Belfast yesterday celebrated BookTrust’s National Bookstart Week 2018 at Belfast’s Window on Wildlife in Belfast Harbour,
The children took part in a bird themed reading and rhyming adventure led by Libraries NI before having a tour of the Wetlands Centre at the event.
National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of BookTrust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart. It encourages families to pick-up a book together and get into the habit of reading every day – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. The launch and subsequent events in libraries and Sure Start centres for 6,000 children is supported by Belfast Harbour as part of the award-winning partnership with BookTrust NI.
Jenni Barkley, Belfast Harbour’s Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, said: “A love of reading is lifelong gift that has proven educational and social benefits, and it’s great to help so many pre-school children and families get into the reading habit.
“Supporting young people is a key theme for Belfast Harbour’s Corporate Responsibility Programme and the excellent work of BookTrust NI makes it an ideal partner.”
This year’s theme, ‘Bookstart Bird Boogie’, is based on the fun picture book A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins, which was given out to every child that attended the event. The event at Belfast’s Window on Wildlife was one of many other fun celebrations taking place across the Northern Ireland during the week as more than 6,000 books were gifted to pre-school children by BookTrust.
Liz Canning, Director of BookTrust Northern Ireland, said: “We are thrilled families across Northern Ireland are celebrating National Bookstart Week. Sharing a book is a wonderful experience which every child should benefit from. We hope families enjoy diving into A Busy Day for Birds and the book helps families to find the fun in reading together. Reading for pleasure can have many positive impacts on a child’s life with research showing if a parent reads to their infant every day they will be almost 12 months ahead of those who are read to less often, in terms of their reading and language skills.”
National Bookstart Week, which runs from June 4 to June 10, aims to give every child in Northern Ireland, England and Wales a lifelong love of reading that will give them a flying start in life.
Valerie Christie, Senior Children’s Services Manager, said: “Libraries NI is delighted to be involved in the launch of National Bookstart Week. Parents and children reading together from an early age is an important stepping stone in a child’s development and events like today continue to emphasise this. For many children their first book may be from Bookstart and then, if they get a library card they can start a reading journey that can last a lifetime.”
Nuala Symington, Principal of Ravenscroft Nursery, said: “I think Bookstart is a fantastic programme for promoting a love of reading. Ravenscroft were delighted to be involved in the launch and it was fantastic to see all the children leaving the event with their own little books.”