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Under fives bring rhymes alive in Warwickshire

Parents and carers of babies and children under five are being encouraged to row, row, row their boats to libraries across Warwickshire to celebrate National Bookstart Day.

The theme for this year’s Bookstart Day on 9 October is ‘My Favourite Rhyme’ and Warwickshire County Council’s Library Service is holding Rhyme Time events for babies and toddlers to enjoy for free.

Bookstart is an independent charity which aims to provide free books to every child in the UK to encourage reading. Warwickshire County Council was one of the early ambassadors of the scheme, and since 1996 has given out more than 96,000 packs of books to children across the county.

Rhys Ali, aged 15 months, from Rugby is just one of the recipients of the Bookstart packs. His father Reza Ali said: “I love reading and I’m really glad that Rhys is following in my footsteps by also enjoying a good book! We’ve bought and borrowed books for Rhys from day one and, with the addition of his Bookstart books, he now has a bookshelf that is rapidly running out of space.”

He added:” Rhys’s favourite nursery rhymes are Row, row, row your boat (especially the actions!) and twinkle, twinkle little star.”

Sandy Chapman, Bookstart and Early Years Librarian for Warwickshire County Council, said: ”We are delighted to be involved with the Bookstart scheme and we would urge any parents who haven’t yet received a pack of books to contact us. If you can read with your children and sing rhymes with your children you are giving them a fantastic start and a love of books is a gift for life.”

Bookstart has carried out a survey to find the nation’s favourite rhyme and Warwickshire Library service has also held a countywide vote for all ages in libraries and children’s centres.  The results of the UK and Warwickshire votes will be revealed during Children’s Book Week from 5-11 October.

The week will see hundreds of families from across Warwickshire taking part in a range of activities in libraries and children’s centres, to highlight the fun of book-sharing. There will also be a huge give away of nursery rhyme books, posters and stickers.

Nursery rhymes are important learning tools and help to prepare children for reading and writing later on. Research carried out by the Department of Education at the University of Oxford has shown a clear relationship between how well children know nursery rhymes before they go to school and the progress that they make later on when learning to read and to spell.

Every child is entitled to a pack of books at 8 – 9 months, 2 years and in their pre-school year which they can get through their health visitor or library. If you would like to receive a free pack of books for your child and have not already done so please contact Warwickshire Bookstart, 01926 476940 or email sandychapman@warwickshire.gov.uk

The events in Warwickshire include:
• Atherstone Library, 11am, Tuesday 6th October
• Dordon Library, 11am, Wednesday 7th October
• Polesworth Library, 11am,  Tuesday 6th October
• Bedworth Library, 10am, Tuesday 6th October
• Bedworth Heath Library, 2:30pm, Wednesday 7th October
• Nuneaton Library, 9:30 and 11am Thursday 8th October
• Stockingford Library, 9:15am Friday 9th October
• Keresley Library, 10:45am, Friday 9th October
• Rugby Library on Friday 9th October at 10.30am
• Shipston-on-Stour Library on Tuesday 6th October at 10.45am
• Bidford Library, 11am, Friday 9th October
• Southam Library, 2.15pm, Friday 9th October
• Warwick Library at 10.30am on Friday 2 October
• Whitnash Library at 11.15am on Tuesday 6 October
• Kenilworth Library at 10am on Friday 9 October