World Book Day News

The Biggest Ever Storytelling Session to take place on World Book Day in Wales!

To celebrate World Book Day this year, the Welsh Books Council will be giving all primary schools throughout Wales the chance to participate in the biggest ever storytelling session, with specially commissioned stories being read to them via the internet. Four specially commissioned World Book Day stories by four Welsh authors will be beamed into schools for school children between 7 and 11 years old, via short films hosted online so that all schools across Wales can watch the stories come to life on the big day, Thursday 3rd of March.

With over 1,462 primary schools located in Wales, and over 232,865 pupils, the storytelling session could be the biggest ever session held in Wales. The main focus of the World Book Day campaign this year is to encourage more 7 to 11 year olds, especially boys, to read more and also to help close the literacy gap between the genders.P>

Delyth Humphreys, the World Book Day Co-ordinator, said: "This year we wanted to do something different, and as all children now relate to digital media and are online every day, we thought of bringing stories alive by having actor Iwan John reading the stories on video clips. We hope that everyone will take part and make it the biggest ever storytelling session!"

The four stories were written by Paul Manship, Ruth Morgan, Nicholas Daniels and Morgan Tomos. The stories range from tales about a tyrannical potato to a boy superhero, naughty boys being inspired by fictional pirates and a mystical wooden carving in a school hall. All the stories have been specially written to inspire children to read more.

Each story has been illustrated – most by well-known illustrators of children’s books and one by a newcomer, Ben Hillman, who won a competition held at the Cardiff School of Art and Design at UWIC. Morgan Tomos illustrated his own story and those written by Nicholas Daniels and Paul Manship were illustrated by Noel Ford and Eric Heyman respectively.

**************************************

Calling all dads to read to their children!

With World Book Day – 3 March – around the corner, the Welsh Books Council is working with the Welsh Assembly Government to encourage parents, carers and grandparents to read to their children, especially the boys. A recent survey of over 17,000 young people, conducted by the National Literacy Trust (2008), showed that 39% of girls read every day compared with only 28% of boys, and that this gap has increased since 2005.

The Books Council is calling all dads to pick up a book and read to, and with, their children, especially their sons. Some top tips for dads include setting aside ten minutes a day for reading, picking books that are suitable for the child’s age, letting the child choose what he or she wants to read, and to talk about what’s being read. Many boys and their dads like to read non-fiction, which can include books, magazines, websites, match-day programmes, sports reports, 'how to' manuals and comic books.

Children can benefit greatly when adults talk to them about what they like to read, and shared interests are often a good basis for shared reading. Many dads are also good at bringing stories alive, by acting out the characters and getting the children involved in the storytelling.

Jane McCarthy, Vale of Glamorgan’s Development Adviser with responsibility for literacy, said: "It is interesting to see that children’s literacy levels and motivation to read improve substantially when their dads or male carers get involved with reading. They are just as important as mums in encouraging children to enjoy reading, and perhaps even more so for boys, as they are important role models. Reading can be seen as a passive pastime more suited to girls’ interests, but if young boys see their dads enjoying reading, it will help them to realise that reading can be an enjoyable activity for everyone."

Delyth Humphreys, the World Book Day Coordinator in Wales, said: "The experience of reading to children can be a two-way process, with both child and parent reaping the benefits, and the importance of fathers as reading role models cannot be underestimated."

**************************************

1,000 school children taking part in World Book Day flagship events in Wales

World Book Day celebrations are starting early this year with two huge flagship events being held in February in Swansea and Wrexham. These events will see a total of a thousand local primary school children taking part in reading and sporting activities to inspire them to read more.

The events, organised by the Welsh Books Council, are designed to encourage more 7–11 year olds, especially boys, to read more and also to help close the literacy gap between the genders.

The two events are mainly sport-based and include reading sessions with well-known children’s authors Cat Weatherill and Dan Anthony. There will even be special guest appearances by players from Swansea City FC, the Ospreys and Wrexham FC, who will emphasise to pupils that reading is important to get ahead even in the sporting world.

Elwyn Jones, Director of the Welsh Books Council, said "World Book Day has now established itself in the Welsh calendar and these major events are fundamental in presenting the message that reading is not only for pleasure but also an essential skill for each individual. It will be a wonderful opportunity for the children to hear their sporting idols and heroes talking about reading and sharing their enjoyment of books."

The schools taking part in Swansea are Townhill Community School and Terrace Road, Blaenymaes and St Illtyd’s primary schools and, in Wrexham, Gwenfro, Rhosymedre and Hafod y Wern primary schools and Ysgol Gymraeg Bodhyfryd.

These events, which aim to make reading fun, have been arranged for schools in some of the most deprived areas in Wales. A recent report noted that 14% of children and young people in lower income homes rarely or never read books for pleasure.1

In Swansea the event is being held at the Liberty Stadium and the LC2 on Tuesday 15th February and the event in Wrexham will be at the Racecourse on Thursday 17th February, with celebrations culminating on World Book Day, Thursday 3rd March.

Other World Book Day activities in Wales include an Enormous Story Session for primary schools, and well-known faces will be supporting the ‘Make Time to Read’ campaign. Schools, colleges, universities and libraries that are organising activities for World Book Day are asked to upload the details to http://bit.ly/worldbookday.

Gwales

Books from Wales on-line

gwales.com