Libraries launch reading club for Norfolk's 0-5s

24 November 2021

Norfolk’s Library and Information service are launching Story Explorers – a reading club for children aged 0-5 years old.

The scheme hopes to boost the number of books that Norfolk's youngest residents interact with, something that is crucial in every child’s development. Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success, even more so than their family circumstances.

The Story Explorers will feature a loyalty club for little readers to help them track their progress and reward them along the way. This will include a welcome pack, reading record and a reading club sticker.

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council said: “It’s never too early, or too late, to start reading with your children. Reading aloud helps build closeness and important language skills that supports their mental health and will help children get ready for school. Our libraries have a huge range of picture books and by reading just one a day you can introduce your child to over 78,000 words in a year”

Reading out loud can begin as soon as your baby is born, or even before. They benefit from the calming sound of a familiar loving voice and the bonding effects of spending one-on-one time.

Jill Terrell, head of the Norfolk Library and Information Service said: “Sharing a book with a child is fun and taking just a few minutes each day to read, talk or sing with your baby from birth is really important. They can pick out words using rhythm, frequency and tone as clues which give them the basis for their speech and language.

“As they grow older, they learn about things like cause and effect from lifting the flap in a book or from books with sounds. It will help them make sense of the world around them, as children can also process their own experiences through main characters in the stories they read.

“Sharing stories with your children can help children to discuss their feelings and help them through big moments like starting school or moving to a new house. It also helps develop empathy by discussing how characters might feel.”

Any child can join the Story Explorers from when they are born, all the way up to their sixth birthday. To join they will need their own library card which they can get for free from any Norfolk library or online. Their progress will be tracked by the books they borrow using their library card.

Parents will be kept up to date with the latest news and advice to help them get started. They will be offered reading lists with selected books; information on language development milestones; and tips and advice for encouraging speech, language and reading.

How to Join - Story Explorers Reading Club

You can register in person at any Norfolk Library, just ask a member of staff. Or you can opt-in when signing up for a new library account online.

The child joining must have their own library membership. Please make sure you provide an email address when signing up, so you get notified when your child can collect a reward and for book ideas.

You will then receive your first Reading Journey Map and a Welcome Leaflet.

Books borrowed before joining the club will still be counted. An email will be sent after reaching borrowing milestones. For the first map it will be for 10, 50, 75, 100, 150, 250 books borrowed. You will be invited to collect a sticker at your next visit to the library and emailed a certificate once you reach 250 books.

There are additional Reading Journeys for those who want to go past 250 – all the way up to 1000 books!

If you need some help finding books, we will send emails a few times a year with suggestions of books to try reading with your baby, toddler or pre-schooler. Or you can ask a member of staff for ideas.

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