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Young Children Can Get Book Smart with Bookstart Bear

Press release   •   Jan 27, 2014 15:58 GMT

Celebrate the 14th National Storytelling Week (1 – 8 February) with Rochdale Borough Libraries and Bookstart Bear to help start a new chapter in your child’s lifelong love of reading.

Bookstart Bear himself will be joining story and rhyme sessions on Wednesday 5 February in Middleton Library and in Balderstone Library on World Book Day, Thursday 6 March.

Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Customer Service, said: “Evidence shows that introducing babies to books at a young age is not only a fun activity but also helps with the child’s literacy, academic performance and chances in life. Come along to a storytelling session with Bookstart Bear to really help open up your child’s imagination and creativity.”

The Bookstart programme has recognised children in their early years that 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 just 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.”

Bookstart Bear Club sessions will be held at the following libraries during National Storytelling Week and throughout the year:

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

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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