GUEST COLUMN: Get reading with National Bookstart Week activities, by Coun John Knight

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Inspire’s libraries across Nottinghamshire are getting ready to celebrate National Bookstart Week with fun activities especially for under fives, to encourage families to dive into a good book.

Inspire is a community benefit society which delivers a range of cultural, art, library and learning services on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council. National Bookstart Week 2016 takes place from June 6 to 12 and this year has an Under the Sea theme.

There will be special Under the Sea themed Rattle, Rhymes and Roll and Storyhullabaloo sessions at around 40 libraries across the county.

BookTrust’s Bookstart scheme is a brilliant programme and is a valuable part of the library service for children and families. National Bookstart Week is one of the many ways Inspire is helping develop a love of reading in young children. It is also a great opportunity to celebrate the fun rhyme and story events which take place in Nottinghamshire’s libraries all year round.

Children who attend any of the special Bookstart Week events will receive a free copy of the picture book A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea by Jessica Law and illustrated by Jill McDonald. Books have been provided by the reading charity, BookTrust, supported by Barefoot Books, who have 450,000 copies of the book to give away across England and Wales.

National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of the reading charity, BookTrust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart, which gives every child in England and Wales a free reading pack in the first year of their life and again when they are 3 years old. The ethos of the charity is to remind families of the importance of reading for fun – even if it’s just for ten minutes a day.

In Nottinghamshire last year more than 15,000 Bookstart packs were gifted to children, with the annual attendance at the many free Rattle, Rhyme and Roll and Story Hullabaloo sessions totalling 43,000 children.

National Bookstart Week events featuring a visit from the Bookstart Bear include.

Mansfield Central Library. Tuesday June 7. 10am-10.30am. Rattle, Rhyme and Roll.

Worksop Library. Thursday June 9. 2pm – 3pm. Rattle Rhyme and Roll

Blidworth Library. Friday June 10. 9.30am-10am. Rattle, Rhyme and Roll

Sutton-in-Ashfield. Friday June 10. 2pm - 2.30pm. Rattle, Rhyme and Roll

There are lots more events happening in libraries. Ask in your local library for more information.