THURROCK Council’s libraries will be celebrating National Bookstart Week this year with extra baby rhyme times to encourage families to dive into a good book this summer.
The theme of this year’s national event (6 June to 12 June) is Under the Sea and children who attend any of the events will receive a free copy of the picture book A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea by Jessica Law, illustrated by Jill McDonald.
They will also be able to collect free shark hats and rhyme sheets, the reading charity BookTrust – supported by Barefoot Books – has more than 450,000 copies to give away.
Families can visit their nearest library or children’s centre to find out more about their local National Bookstart Week event.
The fun starts at the new Tilbury hub in Civic Square on Monday, 6 June at 10.30am – the first in what will be a regular term-time event there on Mondays at 10.30 – before moving on to Corringham Library at 2pm the same day.
Stanford-le-Hope Library hosts Tuesday’s event at 10.30am, and there are two planned for Wednesday (8 June), at Grays (10.30am) and the South Ockendon Centre at 2pm.
Then final Bookstart Week event is at East Tilbury Library at 10.30am on Thursday, 9 June.
Regular baby Rhyme Times are held at the borough’s libraries during term time. Aimed at babies and toddlers they are a chance to meet other parents and enjoy sharing nursery rhymes.
They are at Aveley library (Thursday 2.15pm to 2.45pm); Chadwell library (Friday 10.15am to 10.45am); Corringham library (Tuesday 10am to 10.30am and 2pm to 2.30pm); East Tilbury library (Tuesday 11am to 11.30am); Grays library (Tuesday 10.10am to 10.40am and 2.10pm to 2.40pm); the South Ockendon Centre (Friday 10.30am to 11am and 11.30am to noon); Stanford-le-Hope library (Tuesday 10.15am to 10.45am); as well as the planned Tilbury events on Monday mornings.
National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of BookTrust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart – which gives every child in England and Wales a free reading pack in the first year of their life and again when they are three- to four-years-old.
The charity’s ethos is to remind families of the importance of reading for fun – even if it is just for ten minutes a day.
Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of BookTrust said: “Making time to read with your children is so important because shared reading leads to a love of reading. And we know that reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on life outcomes – and this is as much about confidence and well-being as it is about educational achievements.
“Children who are read to every night start school a year ahead of those who are not and the gap only widens as they get older. Quite simply, children who read for pleasure are happier, healthier and do better in life than those who don’t.”
If people are unable to make it to their local event they can join the fun at home, with plenty of undersea-themed arts and crafts and games, all on the Bookstart website. www.bookstart.org.uk
Details of many events in Thurrock’s libraries are available online at thurrock.gov.uk/libraries