'Bookstart Corner is making the difference'

Bookstart Corner Champion Jessica Lanham reflects on her experience of using the programme to promote book-sharing to families needing more support, and why she would recommend Bookstart Corner to children’s centres.

Jessica is School Readiness Project Lead, based at Branksome Children’s Centre in Poole, supporting families with a range of needs.

Jessica Lanham's Bookstart Corner area for families

How have you used Bookstart Corner resources to support families?

We use the Bookstart Corner books as the focus for our sessions with families. The resources bring the session to life and form part of their home learning activities. They are also used one-to-one in the home with our Starting Out at Home Family Outreach Workers. We have the books out in each of the children’s centres around Poole for families to access within groups and services.

How do families benefit from the programme?

The evidence we have collated from parent/carer feedback and observing children, shows that Bookstart Corner is making the difference, encouraging reading and singing and therefore supporting children’s communication and language development.

What changes to family reading habits have you observed?

When our session is around a Bookstart Corner book that the child can enjoy at home, quite often the parent will feed back a week or more later that it has become their child’s favourite and they always request it as a bedtime story. This demonstrates the programmes’ impact on families.

How has Bookstart Corner encouraged families to access other services and resources?

Through our Bookstart Corner programme, we encourage the families to access their local library and organise group visits to the library where we can. We have had families that were nervous about accessing the library for fear that their child would run around and be noisy. However, with the support of practitioners from the children’s centre, families have overcome their fear and say they will go to the library again.

What advantages does Bookstart Corner offer children’s centres?

The programme offers a variety of books that families can read together in a cosy space within the children’s centre, as well as something for families to use at home. Some families have very few books, so this is fantastic for them.

It facilitates joined-up working with local professionals, to deliver the ethos of Bookstart and encourage parents and carers to read with their children, as well as to mark-make and play together.

 What is Bookstart Corner and how do I sign up?

The benefits of Bookstart Corner