encouraging a love of reading at an early age

Wokingham Borough Council is encouraging families to make the most of BookTrust activities, which aim to get all children reading regardless of their background.

Libraries across the borough are taking part by hosting giveaway sessions, information events and storytimes, all of which will support the work of BookTrust, a children’s reading charity.

Part of the charity’s offer is the Bookstart scheme, which gifts free books to children at key ages before school to help families read together and inspire children to develop a love of reading.

Every child up to 12 months is eligible for a free pack of books and resources to encourage families to read with their child as early as possible and Bookstart Baby is gifted by libraries, health professionals and children’s centres across the borough.

Wokingham Library is hosting a Bookstart event on Thursday 26 January from 10am to 12noon, where a number of early years professionals will be on hand to give advice to parents. There will be information stands from health, early years, children centres and Home-Start, as well as the council’s library team, who will have a book corner and activities for children to enjoy. The event is free and there is no need to book.

This will be a chance to find out what is happening in libraries and children’s centres, get funding information from the early years team and how to access health services.

Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services, said: “Encouraging a love of reading in children at a young age – and regardless of their background – is really something to be applauded. Our libraries are cherished hubs for communities to visit, learn and feel safe in and I hope through our work with Bookstart we will encourage lots of children and families to realise how much their local library has to offer.”

If you are unable to attend the event in Wokingham, there are Bookstart Baby gifting sessions being held at other branches in February and March, where you can pick up a free pack:

  • Wednesday 1 February, 10.30am to 12noon, Wargrave Library
  • Monday 20 February, 10.30am to 12noon Shinfield Micro Library
  • Thursday 23 February, 11am to 12noon, Spencers Wood Library
  • Tuesday 28 February, 11am to 12noon, Twyford Library
  • Wednesday 1 March, 10am to 12noon, Finchampstead Library
  • Monday 6 March, 11am to 12.30pm, Arborfield Pop-up Library
  • Thursday 9 March, 10am to 12noon, Lower Earley Library

By attending storytime sessions, residents will help the council’s library team to decide the winner of this year’s BookTrust Storytime Prize. Now in its fourth year, the competition aims to find the best book for sharing with children up to the age of five. An expert panel chose a shortlist of books, which will now face a public vote for a prize of £5,000.

Storytime sessions featuring the shortlisted books are being held on:

  • Wednesday 1 February, 10.30am to 11am, Wargrave Library
  • Tuesday 7 February, 10am to 10.30am, Lower Earley Library
  • Wednesday 15 February, 10.30am to 11am, Woodley Library
  • Friday 17 February, 10.30am to 11am, Finchampstead Library
  • Monday 20 February, 10am to 10.30am, Shinfield Micro Library
  • Thursday 23 February, 10.30am to 11am, Spencers Wood Library
  • Tuesday 28 February, 10.30am to 11am, Twyford Library
  • Monday 6 March, 10.30am to 11am, Arborfield Pop-up Library

These sessions are free but places must be reserved in advance. For more information and to book, visit the library event website.

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