Why I'm a Bookstart Corner Champion
Rebecca Blooman is an early years practitioner at children’s centres in Brent. She uses the Bookstart Corner books and resources in her regular activities to extend children’s interest and encourage families to interact more with their child. Here, Rebecca talks about the positive impact of the programme and how it is changing families' reading habits.
How have you used Bookstart Corner resources to support families?
I read books from the pack with the families, highlighting the importance of reading with their children from a young age and encouraging them to reinforce the learning at home. The books are incorporated into routines such as ‘Bath, Book, Bed’. Books like One Mole Digging a Hole are used to create an activity that supports literacy and maths development and we read the book together at the end of the session. Bookstart Corner is fun, supports social interaction and children are keen to use the books.
Bookstart Corner has encouraged many of our parents to take more interest and time in reading books with their child and has been especially useful in working with families who have English as an Additional Language.
How have families benefitted from the programme?
The programme supports literacy development, encouraging rhyme time and reading books, and supports children in school-readiness. It also contributes to the development of early mark-making, communication skills and social interaction, as well as helping children recognise print in the environment.
What changes to family reading habits have you observed?
I have observed that families are becoming more interested in the books within the centre and will take time to sit in the reading corner. Even if their English is not at a level to read the words, they will talk about the pictures with their children.
Families ask about books that we are highlighting in the centre and use story bags at home. They are using books in a positive way to support their child’s development and we have noticed that they are buying books.
How has Bookstart corner encouraged families to access other services and resources?
As we have made the Bookstart Corner a big feature within the crèche room, we have noticed families asking about local library services and how they can attend the events held in the libraries across the borough.
What advantages does Bookstart Corner offer children’s centres?
This programme has supported the families who attend the centre and highlighted the importance of sharing books with their children and bringing this into part of the daily routine.
The children’s centres I work for are run by Barnado's. As we are a charity, the budget for resources is quite limited, so the free resources provided with Bookstart Corner are a great help for the centres and the low-income families we work with.