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Rhyme Time Fun for Book Mad Youngsters

Press release   •   Feb 10, 2014 11:34 GMT

Children at Middleton Library were treated to a visit from a very special guest to help encourage them to love books and start a new chapter in their love of reading.

To celebrate the 14th National Storytelling Week, from 1-8 February, Bookstart Bear joined the story and rhyme session on Wednesday, 5 February in the Long Street library. Children also dressed as their favourite book characters.

Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Customer Service, said: “The children were so excited to see Bookstart Bear who joined in with lots of stories, songs and nursery rhymes.

“Introducing babies and toddlers to books at a young age really helps to open a child’s imagination and creativity and can help with literacy, academic performance and chances in life, as well as just being really good fun.”

Rochdale Borough Libraries run Bookstart Bear club sessions throughout the week at locations throughout the area.

These include:

Darnhill LibraryMonday

10am - 11.30am

Smallbridge LibraryMonday2pm – 3pm
Rochdale Central
Wednesday1.30pm - 2.30pm
Middleton Library


9.45am - 10.45am
Middleton Library


11.15am – 11.45am
Heywood LibraryThursday10am - 11am
Balderstone Library Thursday2pm - 3pm

The Bookstart programme has shown children in their early years who have access to books before reception age begin school with significant advantages and achieve higher attainment in all aspects of education.

The club is open to children from birth to five and there are a variety of visual aids to promote the love and enjoyment of stories. Included in the free to join programme are:

  • free books to share with your child;
  • support and guidance to inspire a love of books;
  • opportunities to engage with other families at vibrant and fun community events.

In 2000, Professor Barrie Wade and Dr Maggie Moore researched a group of Bookstart children as they were starting primary school and compared them with a carefully selected group of non-Bookstart children. Upon starting school, the Bookstart children were significantly ahead of their classmates in all Reading and Number assessments. At age seven the Bookstart children were still ahead in learning.*

Irene Peachey, Rochdale Borough Libraries’ Early Years Library Worker, said: “Having trained as a nursery nurse, I’m aware of the importance of early literacy development and how children learn. I use lots of visual aids to bring stories ‘to life’ in my Bookstart Bear Club sessions, making them fun and interactive for young children and their families.

“The club develops self-esteem, confidence and a sense of achievement and belonging within children which is a wonderful way of preparing children for school. It is never too early to start sharing books and songs with children, in fact the earlier the better.”

In addition to delivering story and singing sessions for under-fives within libraries, Irene also visits around 35 early years’ providers across the borough each year. During these sessions Irene promotes the library service and Bookstart Bear Club, reads a story and delivers the children their Bookstart treasure bags.

For more information on Rochdale Borough Libraries and upcoming events please visit

For more information about Bookstart Bear Club please visit

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