Kids encouraged to bury themselves in a book

Date published: 10 July 2018

Elk Mill hosted schoolchildren from Oldham for an event designed to get them excited about reading in their spare time.

Children from St Hilda’s Church of England Primary School, Richmond Academy and Westwood Academy took part in a range of fun literacy-themed workshops, including a group storytelling session as well as activities with staff from Smyth’s Toys.

Each school was also given £100 of vouchers from British Land, owner of Elk Mill, to purchase new books to help grow their libraries.

The event was part of the Young Readers Programme – an initiative delivered by the National Literacy Trust and funded by British Land.

To date, the programme has helped encourage more than 1280 local children to read for fun outside of the classroom.

Sarah Wimperis from Westwood Academy said: “The Young Readers Programme is a wonderful initiative and a great way to get children enthusiastic about books.

“The children loved having the opportunity to choose a book written by their favourite author or of a particular theme.

"The events allowed the children to share their love of reading with their friends and family."

The latest research from the National Literacy Trust shows that children who read daily outside the classroom are five times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.

Last year, 33% of children in Oldham were unable to read well by the time they left primary school, rising to 45% of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Alan Barker, centre manager at Elk Mill, said: “We had a fantastic time welcoming the local schoolchildren and getting involved in the storytelling event.

“The Young Readers Programme is something we’re really passionate about and proud to be part of as it has a real impact on the lives of children in our community.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Poor literacy can have a life-long impact on employability, health, confidence and happiness, so encouraging children to develop a love of reading at an early age is an essential part of our goal to help improve literacy levels in Oldham.

“We’re extremely grateful to British Land, Elk Mill and its retailers for their continued support of the programme.”

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