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A year-long celebration of reading to get more parents enjoying books with their children kicks off in Peterborough with a family event in Cathedral Square on Saturday June 22.

The Peterborough Celebrates Reading campaign has been organised by Peterborough City Council, the National Literacy Trust, Vivacity and City College Peterborough to get children interested in books and more parents reading to their children from a young age.

The event from 1am – 4pm will include professional storytelling sessions every half an hour, free books to take home, book-related activities including book-making and the chance to visit the Vivacity book bus. People will also be able to take a selfie on a giant deckchair and are being encouraged to bring a picnic and explore a book together.

Councillor Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and university for Peterborough City Council, said: “Reading is one of the most important skills for a child to learn and will dictate how well they achieve throughout their education and their whole lives.

“In Peterborough reading levels are lower than the national average and this is impacting on the achievement of our children. We need to change that so every child in the city has the same chance to enjoy books and to reach their full potential.

“Parents have a crucial role to play in this and I appeal to every parent to read to their child at home. Doing so will help you to bond with them, develop their feelings and imagination and will put them at an advantage when they start school. A child is never too young – even at the age of two a child’s language development is a strong predictor of their reading skills at the age of five.”

The launch event kicks off a year-long programme of events that will include The Space Chase summer reading challenge, Roald Dahl Day in September, writing competitions, story trails, a poetry festival and much more.

The year will culminate with a striking trail of book-shaped benches across Peterborough created by schools, community groups and businesses in association with creative producers Wild in Art.

The campaign is part of the Vision for Reading which was launched last year and asks everyone in the city – teachers, parents, businesses and others – to play their part in helping children to develop a lifelong love of reading which in turn will improve their life chances.

Alongside the Peterborough Celebrates Reading campaign, the Vision for Reading aims to support parents to prepare their children for school by, for example, reading to them at home and train reading buddies in schools who can read with children.

Schools, businesses and other organisations are also being encouraged to prioritise reading by signing up to the Peterborough Reading Pledge. Those who sign up are encouraged to promote reading to their staff, encourage them to join a library and encourage book clubs or a book suggestion page on the company’s intranet.

You can find out more about all the events taking place as part of Peterborough Celebrates Reading and about the Vision for Reading by visiting Updates will also be posted on the Peterborough Celebrates Facebook page and on Twitter @pborocelebrates

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