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Free books for newborn babies to boost reading skills

Press Release: 01/03/2019

 

Newborn babies are to receive a free book before they even leave hospital to give them a head start in learning to read.

The move is just one of number a of strategies under the newly launched Tameside Loves Reading campaign to help boost children’s literacy, as 34% of children in the borough start school with below average language and reading skills.

The three year programme, launched by Tameside Council, will work with all primary schools and involves a reading volunteer scheme with local employers, extra investment in language and vocabulary interventions and training for nurseries and reception classes.

One of the key messages of the Tameside Loves Reading campaign is that parents, grandparents and carers can help give their children a head start by reading with them daily and talking about books and stories.

It is never too early to start enjoying books together – and to highlight this a free book will be given to every baby born under the care of Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (the hospital) over the next 12 months.

The book packs, which will include tips on reading with babies as well of details of signing up for library membership, will be given to babies and new parents by their midwives before they are discharged from hospital.

Tameside Council Executive Member for Lifelong Learning Cllr Leanne Feeley said: “Reading exposes you to so many wonderful things - it inspires your imagination, paints pictures of stories in your mind and takes you to anywhere you want to go.

“It is never too early to inspire a love of reading and start developing literacy skills and I would like to thank our partners at the hospital for working with us to reach new parents at the earliest opportunity to encourage them to start enjoying books with their babies from day one.

“Reading together - at any age - is fun and a great way for parents to spend special, bonding time with their children. This is just the first chapter in our Tameside Loves Reading story – we have lots of exciting projects and events planned to encourage parents and carers to read with their children daily and to support schools to improve reading and literacy skills to help our children achieve well.”

Chief Executive at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT, Karen James, said, “We are really happy to support Tameside Loves Reading. We want babies born at Tameside Hospital to have the best start in life and we think the gift of a book will support children and their parents to spend quality time together enjoying their book.”

Chris Mahady, Managing Director at Findel Education Resources, sponsors of the free books, said: “Having supplied many schools within our borough, Tameside, for a long time now, it’s perfect that we now have the opportunity to support new parents and their newborns directly. A love of books starts at such a young age and books like this are a fundamental part of the learning journey.”

To find out more about the Tameside Loves Reading campaign - including hints and hacks for improving your child’s reading and details on becoming a reading volunteer – see www.tameside.gov.uk/tamesidelovesreading

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