Book mad youngsters have been getting ready for the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival with a special Bookstart Rhyme Challenge.
To teach them about the wonder of words, over the past four weeks around 100 children and their families who attend the Bookstart Bear Club each week have been learning two or three rhymes each session, including classic childhood favourites such as ‘Little Bo Peep’, ‘Rock a bye baby’ ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary’ and ‘Ride a cock horse’, as well as familiar songs such as ‘Five currant buns in a baker’s shop, ‘Tommy Thumb’ and ‘Jelly on the plate’, using a variety of resources.
They have been taking rhyme sheets home to enable them to continue rhyming together and have been sharing the rhymes with older siblings and the extended family, so the challenge has encompassed the whole family and the joy of sharing language together.
The challenge aims to help children develop early language skills, help youngsters and families enjoy learning together, get parents involved, support social skills, get children ready for school, help their emotional well-being, contribute towards all aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage and, most of all, have fun.
On Wednesday October 23, some children who took part in the challenge were presented with certificates at Number One Riverside to mark the start of Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival, which runs from Friday, October 24 to Sunday, October 26.
Councillor Neil Emmott, Cabinet Member for Corporate services and Neighbourhoods, said: “The Rhyme Challenge is a great fun way for the borough’s children can help to develop and strengthen their early language skills. It's also an excellent way to involve parents to work and play alongside their children.”
Rochdale Borough Council’s Early Years Library Worker Irene Peachey said: “The families have really taken the Rhyme Challenge to heart and have been practising the rhymes at home as well as during the sessions. Many parents have seen their child’s confidence grow and their memory expand.”
The festival is due to the generosity of Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, who originally met in Rochdale Library. They left a sum of money to be used on resources and events related to literature and philosophy to ensure classic works are available for future generations.
The festival offers events for all ages and interests, including free, family-friendly activities. Tickets are required for some events and these are available in person every day of the festival at the box office at Rochdale Central Library, Number One Riverside, or online at www.rochdaleliteraturefestival.co.uk
For updates during the festival on Twitter connect with @RochdaleLitFest
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