Preston’s Deepdale Shopping Park has played host to more than 290 schoolchildren at a ‘Booknic’ reading event.Advertisement
Children from across three Preston schools took part in the event, organised in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.
The Booknic involved children enjoying a picnic and a book while taking part in a range of fun reading-themed activities. Schoolchildren from Preston Grange Primary School, Fishwick Primary School and St Matthews Primary School participated, with each child receiving a book of their choice to take home.
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Russell Hall, centre manager at Deepdale, said: “Supporting our community is so important to us, and the Young Readers Programme plays a massive part in that. It’s a brilliant initiative that we look forward to every year, and it’s great to see the children celebrating.
“Thanks also needs to go to the National Literacy Trust for their hard work on this event and over the years. They’ve helped us to ensure that the additional support and books go to those who need them most.”
The event was part of the Young Readers Programme, an award-winning initiative sponsored by Deepdale’s co-owner British Land and run in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.
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The initiative, designed to encourage children to read outside of the classroom, also gave the schools access to virtual interactive storytelling sessions and a literary quiz.
British Land and the National Literacy Trust celebrates its 10-year partnership this year. Since the programme launched in Preston, it has supported more than 1,700 schoolchildren and seen more than 5,250 books donated across the city.
Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that children who own books are six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age and three times more likely to enjoy reading.
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Over the past year, Deepdale has also gifted 250 books to local food banks, charities and community organisations to help provide children in underprivileged areas access to books during the pandemic.
Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Encouraging children to develop a love of reading from a young age can have a tangible impact on their literacy skills, mental wellbeing and futures.
“Yet hundreds of thousands of children across the UK are missing out on these benefits simply because they don’t have a book of their own to read at home.
“The Young Readers Programme, with support from British Land, tackles this, and we’d like to thank them for all their support over the years.”
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What else can we be doing to get children interested in reading? Let us know in the comments below