posted on March 12 2019
Illustration by Erica Draws
The BookTrust is an amazing organisation here in the UK. Each year they reach 3.5 million children with free books, resources and support. Their mission is to instil a love for reading in the next generation. They also research and report on literacy and campaign the message that the more children read for pleasure the more likely they will succeed in school and later on in life.
A couple of great resources they make available and that you should know about they is their Great Books Guide that lists books in terms of themes and then their Book Finder that matches a book with an age range. Have a look here for story recommendations.
Last week they held a conference in Belfast which was such a huge pleasure to attend. They presented their work, stories, authors and research. A room full of story lovers who dream of opening up the world of books to all children under the sun. Or maybe clouds here in Northern Ireland.
One study they conducted in Wales concluded the need for children entering schools to have a higher level of oracy– the ability to express oneself fluently and grammatically in speech. They say oracy is to communicating, what literacy is to reading. And it’s not just speaking, it’s also listening. And oracy is in decline.
It was sad to hear, but it also rung true, that as a society we have become less able to concentrate for longer periods of time. What, with our constant interruptions, phones, notifications, our short attention span and the influence of digital? Communicating around a table is all but a lost art form.
In the BookTrust study they emphasised how poorly we’re raising our kids to have shared sustained listening skills. These skills go a long way to prepare children for phonics, learn social skills and focus attention.
Teachers reported poor listening skills when kids are entering schools. Lack of confidence that comes from deprived extending spoken interaction.
The antidote to this is to increase shared reading and rhymes. So group environments when people are taking turns presenting, reading, rhyming and listening are so important.
For this reason and many other reasons– we love books, an we have the very best books on our shelves and want to share them with you too! We’re delighted to announce a new time slot for our Storytime. We will be running our weekly storytime every Friday morning at 10:30am. This will be aimed at kids who aren’t yet at school, to give us all a chance to practice our Oracy skills.
We hope you’ll join us and spread the word. Look forward to seeing you on Fridays at 10:30am. And if you aren’t local tune into our Instagram where our stories will be broadcast simultaneously.
Below is a video by the BookTrust which tells you a little more about their work and the effects of cultivating a love for reading in little ones.