Council library service backed by government

St Helens Council’s Schools Library Service has been selected by the government to join the national ‘Chatterbooks’ reading programme, to provide extra-curricular reading opportunities in local primary schools –
following suggestions in a Department for Education (DfE) report published earlier this year.

The council’s Schools Library Service will become one of just 20 such services to be chosen by the DfE to extend The Reading Agency’s Chatterbooks programme – which has locally only been available in libraries since it launched in 2001 – to up to 10 in local schools at Key Stage 2, as per recommendations in the report.

It’s hoped the programme will create a culture of reading by encouraging the targeted age bracket of Years 3 to 6 children to read more widely, discuss literature in groups, recommend books to each other, and look at
different creative responses to reading.

Another key aspect of the initiative is to arrange library membership for Year 3 pupils, to ensure children have access to books and other library services.

The Schools Library Service, chosen by DfE for its professionalism and effectiveness to date, will provide training to enable school staff – including teachers and teaching assistants, but also student teachers and
parent volunteers – to hold Chatterbooks sessions in after-school clubs for pupils aged 7 to 11 through to March 2016. There’ll also be a series of author events and class visits to local libraries, further promoting the benefits of regular reading to St Helens school children.

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