|with Viv Bird, chief executive of Booktrust|
The BookTrust and I are encouraging parents and carers of young children in Haslingden and Hyndburn to read regularly to their children. Reading to children is fun and it gives them a better start in life by helping their language, wellbeing, confidence and concentration. All the evidence is that the more they are read to, the better they do.
It is vital in Haslingden and Hyndburn that children are read to by ‘Tiger Moms’ and ‘Tiger Dads’ and that they are given the same chance in life as others in a globalised world which will change dramatically for them in the next 20-60 years.
I felt it was really important for me to attend the Parliamentary Booktrust event, “Reading together changes lives”, at the House of Commons on 15 July 2014. The national charity Booktrust gifts books to every baby and young child in the UK and seeks to motivate parents to read to their children.
Fiona Protheroe, a mother of two who came with her eight-year-old son James, told the meeting, “The earlier you start reading, the more it becomes part of your family life. Getting a Booktrust pack when your child is a baby makes books special. James’s dad found the tips really useful at getting over his awkwardness about reading to the kids!”
Viv Bird, chief executive of Booktrust, was kind enough to say, “We really appreciate Graham's support. Whatever their background, we know that children who are read to regularly at age five do better in vocabulary, spelling and maths at age 16. Even if you’re not a great reader, you can still help your child by telling the stories using the pictures and talking to them about what you see.”
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Notes to Editors
1. For more information, please contact Graham Jones MP on email@example.com, or contact Harriet Jackson at Booktrust on firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 0208 875 4827.
2. In his 2010 government review of health inequalities, Sir Michael Marmot found that "being read to every day" was "likely to relate to a child’s chance of doing well in school" and, “Parental involvement in their child’s reading has been found to be the most important determinant of language and emergent literacy.” Other research shows that being read to three-five days a week aged four to five puts children’s reading skills six months ahead by the time they are eight or nine; and reading to them six to seven days a week moves them 12 months ahead.
3. Booktrust is a UK-wide charity that focuses on getting parents and carers reading to their young children and on building children and young people’s own love of reading. Research shows if their parents read to them or if they read for pleasure themselves, children’s life chances are expanded.
4. Booktrust gifts over five million books a year to two million children up to the age of five, along with tips, guidance and fun activities for the whole family. It also gives hundreds of thousands of books to older students. It partners with children’s centres, health visitors, schools, libraries, local authorities and others to distribute books and hold family reading sessions and events.
5. Booktrust seeks to reach every child and to provide additional, hands-on support for children and families who need this. To build a buzz around reading, it support the Children's Laureate and run awards and prizes. Its work supports government policy on improving young people’s literacy and numeracy and tackling child poverty.
6. Booktrust is funded by the governments in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, with further funding from the Arts Council, publishers and private donations.