New reading club launched to help youngsters explore stories

Two-year-old Beau Ellis and his mum Rachel, enjoying Story Explorers, the new 0 to five-year-olds re

Two-year-old Beau Ellis and his mum Rachel, enjoying Story Explorers, the new 0 to five-year-olds reading club at the Milennium Library. With them from left, Beth Southard, early years librarian; Adam McGee, children and young people's co-ordinator; Ceri Sumner, director of community, information and learning; and Jill Terrell, head of the library service. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A new reading club is challenging children under the age of five to become 'Story Explorers'.

Launched by the Norfolk Libraries Service, the project aims to get children engaged with books and reading as early as possible.

Aimed at children aged up to five, the scheme will put library cards in the hands of youngsters as soon as they are able to hold them, with parents able to sign up children from birth.

Once they are joined up, parents will be offered reading lists to choose from and information on how to help their children develop speech, language and reading skills.

Two-year-old Beau Ellis and his mum Rachel, enjoying Story Explorers, the new 0 to five-year-olds re

Two-year-old Beau Ellis and his mum Rachel, enjoying Story Explorers, the new 0 to five-year-olds reading club at the Milennium Library. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

And youngsters in the club will be given a welcome pack which includes a reading record and stickers, and will be given rewards as they go.

Jill Terrell, head of the Norfolk Library and Information Service said: “Sharing a book with a child is fun and taking just a few minutes each day to read, talk or sing with your baby from birth is really important.

"They can pick out words using rhythm, frequency and tone as clues which give them the basis for their speech and language.

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“As they grow older, they learn about things like cause and effect from lifting the flap in a book or from books with sounds. It will help them make sense of the world around them, as children can also process their own experiences through main characters in the stories they read.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Councils cabinet member for communities and partnership

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Councils cabinet member for communities and partnerships. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

“Sharing stories  can help children to discuss their feelings and help them through big moments like starting school or moving to a new house. It also helps develop empathy by discussing how characters might feel.”

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council said: “Reading aloud with your children can not only help them to build their language, but it can support their mental health and prepare them for school.”

“It’s never too early or too late to start reading with your child. By reading just one picture book a day you can introduce your child to over 78,000 words in a year.”

Parents can register their interest in joining up at any Norfolk library, or opt in when joining up online.

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