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Bookstart scheme to continue

Created on 13/02/2017 @ 15:26
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A scheme to encourage a love of books among babies and their families in Newtown and throughout Powys is to continue thanks to a new partnership agreement between Powys County Council and BookTrust Cymru.

The Bookstart / Dechrau Da scheme provides every child in Wales with two bilingual packs which are distributed by health visitors in the first year of a child’s life and again at 15-27 months.

The new partnership agreement between the council and BookTrust Cymru will see the packs being distributed to babies in Powys during 2017-18.

The scheme, an early intervention and literacy programme for children, is delivered as a partnership between BookTrust Cymru, the council’s Library Service and health visitors across Wales. The programme is funded by the Welsh Government.

The scheme also supports active participation with all libraries across Wales.

The partnership with Welsh local authorities helps children’s early learning and development and starts a life-long love of books and reading.  It also encourages parents and carers to develop a regular reading routine with their child.

The packs include guidance and library resources to support partners and carers to develop children’s literacy and language skills in English and Welsh.
“Supporting literacy provision at an early stage in a child’s life is fundamental to early intervention and literacy development in the county,” said Cllr Graham Brown, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Library Services.

“Statistics show that engaging reading early on in their development does make a significant difference. Children who fall behind with their reading in the early years usually stay behind.

“While children who are read to every day are likely to be ahead by twelve months with their reading when they start school.
“This is why it is important we continue to support this scheme, especially when you consider that children living in poverty are more likely to have poor literacy levels. Around one in four children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Wales are not reading well at age 11.

“This is compared to fewer than one in ten children from more advantaged backgrounds. This partnership shows that we can all play a role in making improvements.”
In Powys during 2015-16:

• 860 Bookstart/Dechrau Da ‘Baby packs’ were distributed through health visitors
• Follow up ‘Early Years’ packs included a further 860 packs distributed

BookTrust, who set up the scheme, is the largest reading charity in the UK working to inspire a love of reading in children to transform lives. The charity along with library services across the country is committed to starting children on their reading journey and supporting them throughout.

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