Parents are being supported to read with their children through Bath, Book and Bed - a year-long campaign which is being coordinated by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Children’s Centres.
Throughout the year, the scheme will have a different bedtime story theme each month with lots of activities to encourage good bedtime routines and a love of reading.
The launch will take place in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre with a series of events from Tuesday, January 24, to Saturday, January 28. These include storytelling, singing rhymes, making music, being creative and helping parents to be confident to read stories with their children.
Storytellers from Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle, will be taking part on Thursday, January 26.
A key issue identified by Hartlepool’s Education Commission Report is that many children are not ‘ready for school’ at the age of four, with the largest gap being seen in speaking, reading and writing.
The report stated: “Particular concerns relate to early language development and helping families support their child’s learning and development.”
Councillor Alan Clark, chair of the council’s Children’s Services Committee, said: “This scheme presents a great opportunity to support parents in having good bath, book and bedtime routines which can be richly rewarding and fun and help develop vitally important language skills in readiness for their children going to nursery and school.
“Language is an essential life skill and the basis on which children, think, learn, achieve and make friends. It is also the foundation for the development of literacy skills and there is a direct correlation between children’s language development at age three and their reading and writing at aged five and beyond.
“Sharing a book with a child regularly from birth plays an important part in their development of these important life skills.
“We would certainly encourage as many parents as possible to come along to the launch events and find out more.”
Hartlepool mum Megan Fairless who has 3-year-old twins has backed the scheme.
She said: “I think it’s a great idea. Any initiative to encourage parents to read to their children and take an interest in books will only help children as they grow up.”
The Hartlepool Education Commission is a pioneering project to ensure a first class education for every learner. It includes Hartlepool Council, schools, academies, colleges, employers, parents and young people.