Free books for toddlers as BookTrust NI and SONI celebrate their partnership to get more children reading

Published on: 17 August 2018 Author: Lucy Lewis

Local pre-school children in Garvagh enjoyed a morning of storytime and rhymes this August - and received a free Bookstart pack to take home.

The event, held at Appletree Childcare centre, celebrated the partnership between BookTrust and SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland), which encourages early book sharing by providing Bookstart packs in the Garvagh and Armagh areas.

Imag of the BookTrust SONI Garvagh event in August 2018

During an interactive performance led by A Place to Wonder, children were treated to a Rocking Robin-themed story and sensory singing session, complete with lots of laughter, fun and feathers.

This year, thanks to the partnership, over 1,000 babies and toddlers will benefit from their very own Bookstart pack. The Bookstart packs are specially designed containing books, resources and guidance for parents on the importance of reading with their child.

Liz Canning, Head of BookTrust Northern Ireland said:

'BookTrust is thrilled to have our partnership with SONI extended. We joined forces back in 2016 with both organisations committing to ensure we get babies in Northern Ireland reading and we’re delighted to be able to continue this journey together to inspire even more children and families to become lifelong readers.'

Image of the Bookstart SONI toddler packs gifted in Northern Ireland

Kate Finnegan, SONI External Affairs said:

'We are delighted to be into our second year of partnership with BookTrust NI. It is our vision as a company to make sure our own communications are clear and accessible, which very much mirrors BookTrust NI’s vision to encourage development of important literacy skills.

'This is the second event in the area because we recognise the importance of working hand-in-hand with local communities as we progress through the consultation stages of the Agivey Cluster Project. We are very happy to be back in Glenullin supporting local parents and toddlers as they take their first steps on the lifelong adventure that reading brings.'

Kelly Campbell from Appletree Childcare Centre said:

'On behalf of Appletree Childcare we would like to thank SONI and the BookTrust for paying us a visit today. The children had a fantastic morning and they are delighted with their book packs.'

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