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Young Islington readers meet The Duchess of Cornwall at Islington Central Library

The Duchess of Cornwall with Laura Walden and her daughter Ella Mae at the Baby Bounce session in Islington Central Library.

The Duchess of Cornwall with Laura Walden and her daughter Ella Mae at the Baby Bounce session in Islington Central Library.

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The Duchess of Cornwall met dozens of Islington’s brightest young readers during a visit to Central Library today (Wednesday), where Her Royal Highness launched a new book to encourage reading and met with national literacy charities.

Children from Sacred Heart nursery school were given an exclusive reading of the Book Trust’s new book, Bear’s Reading Adventure, by The Duchess, who then heard about the benefits of a new reading club pilot from pupils at Pakeman and Laycock schools.

Islington’s Central Library was the chosen venue as its Education Library Service (ELS) is one of only 20 school library services in the UK selected for a pilot reading club project for primary schools known as Chatterbooks. ELS is now running the government-funded clubs in 10 of the borough’s primaries.

The Book Trust’s new book, Bear’s Reading Adventure, is aimed at a younger audience, designed to encourage reading as well as regular library visits.

The Sacred Heart nursery school pupils were all given a copy of the book and a sticker by The Duchess, who encouraged them to return to the library regularly for more stickers to complete the story.

The Duchess later joined children, parents and carers singing songs and rhymes at the library’s free weekly Baby Bounce session – a great way to introduce young children to books, reading and learning – which take place in all Islington libraries.

Cllr Janet Burgess, deputy leader of Islington Council, said: “We were pleased to welcome The Duchess to Central Library, and show her the energy and enthusiasm for reading that our young people have.

“As the Chatterbooks pilot recognises, our libraries do fantastic work with children and their families, embedding a thirst for reading and knowledge that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

“We’re proud of our libraries service; encouraging reading and giving children the best possible start in life is a key priority for us.”

Cllr Burgess welcomed The Duchess to the library as part of a delegation that also included senior officers and Islington’s deputy lieutenant Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes.

The leaders of “Read On. Get On.” a national coalition working to increase children’s literacy, also used the event to meet The Duchess, who is patron of the National Literacy Trust, BookTrust and Beanstalk. The campaign aims to ensure that by 2025 every child is reading well by the age of 11.

The National Literacy Trust’s chair of trustees, Dame Julia Cleverdon, who also chairs Read On. Get On. said: “The Duchess of Cornwall has been deeply engaged through her patronages of many literacy charities including the National Literacy Trust, BookTrust and Beanstalk, in the vital work of encouraging and supporting a love of reading for all children.

“This new campaign Read On. Get On. is drawing together a coalition of partners from all sectors to achieve an ambitious goal of getting every child reading well by the age of  11.

“We know we need to both act early in children’s lives to develop their crucial language skills, and also ensure that children develop a love of reading, and read frequently, if they are to have the literacy skills they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

“Literacy can literally transform the life chances of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.”

For more information contact:

Stephen Moore
Senior Media Officer
020 7527 3224
Stephen.Moore2@islington.gov.uk

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The Duchess discovers the favourite books of pupils from Islington's Pakeman primary school.

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The Duchess of Cornwall with Laura Walden and her daughter Ella Mae at the Baby Bounce session in Islington Central Library.

View | Download ( JPG - 2.66 MB )