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World Book Day Visit for Literature Loving Youngsters

Press release   •   Mar 10, 2014 10:24 GMT

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

On Thursday, March 6, Bookstart Bear joined the story and rhyme session in the Balderstone Park library.

Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Customer Service, said: “It’s fantastic to see the children 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 across the borough.

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 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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Notes to editors

* Bookstart children of 2- to 3-years-old were compared with a sample of children who didn't receive Bookstart packs.

The findings showed:

·  68% of Bookstart children looked at books as one of their favourite activities (21% for non-Bookstart)

·  75% of Bookstart parents said they bought books as presents for their children (10% for non-Bookstart).

Researchers observed parents sharing a book with their children, again comparing Bookstart families with a non-Bookstart sample:

·  83% of Bookstart parents read the whole text compared with 34% of non-Bookstart parents

·  64% talked about the story, compared with only 24%

·  43% encouraged the child to join in, compared with only 27%

·  68% encouraged the child to make predictions, compared to 38%.

Bookstart families share more books but these findings also illustrate that the quality of the interaction between the parent and child is enhanced.

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