It’s not every day that Peppa Pig, Robin Hood and the Bookstart Bear get together at Nottingham Castle – but they are next week for a special reading event.
Bookstart, Nottingham City Libraries and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will take over the Castle green on Thursday (9 June) for a free Family Fun Day of Literacy and Storytelling.
The event is all part of National Bookstart Week (June 6 – 12) with events and activities for under-fives to encourage families to pick up a good book this summer.
This year’s theme is ‘Under the Sea’. Children who attend the Castle event will receive a free copy of the picture book A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea by Jessica Law.
On the day, families can watch Geoffrey Jumper’s under-the-sea-themed puppet show – ‘You Might Need An Umbrella’ – and they can make their own shadow puppet afterwards with Nottingham libraries.
There will be crafts and activities, including making a shark mask, sea creatures and a sand pit. There will be face painting and balloon animals, a reading area and little ones can learn to line dance with the Imagination Library.
Children will also get to meet Peppa and George Pig, Robin Hood and Bookstart Bear. The Sheriff of Nottingham, Councillor Jackie Morris, will be there on the day to take part in the fun.
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, said: “It’s great that Bookstart, Libraries and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library have joined forces to encourage and highlight the importance of families reading with children.
“This event is a great opportunity to celebrate sharing books with small children and one of the most important bonding experiences parents and carers can share with youngsters.
“Making time to read with your children is so important because shared reading leads to a love of reading. And we know that reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on life outcomes – and this is as much about confidence and well-being as it is about educational achievements.”
Improving literacy is one of the key goals for Nottingham City Council, as the average five-year-old in the city will start school with reading skills 14% behind those of other UK children. This means children are spending their primary years ’catching up’ with the national standards. Studies have shown that just 10 minutes reading a day can dramatically improve your child’s lifelong language, literacy and numeracy skills.
Cllr Mellen added: “Children who are read to every night start school a year ahead of those who are not and the gap only widens as they get older. Quite simply, children who read for pleasure are happier, healthier and do better in life than those who don’t.”
Along with their free copy of ‘Hole At The Bottom Of The Sea’ book and accompanying rhyme sheet, little ones can also follow a trail of Bookstart Bear’s paw prints running from the Castle down to Central Library and they can get a free Bookstart Bear teddy at the end.
Entry to the event is FREE. Families need to have a valid Citycard or library card to pick up their entry voucher from all city libraries or the Tourist Information Centre in Old Market Square. If they don’t have a Citycard or library card, they can head to their local library and sign up for one and pick up their entry vouchers
Families in the county are also welcome to the event; they just need to take their county library card to a city library or the tourist information office in Old Market Square.
Families should visit their nearest library or children’s centre to find out more about their local National Bookstart Week event.