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
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.