Promoting Literacy in the Cotswolds

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The Cotswold Blog is a collection of diary entries, news, gossip and other Cotswold related information.

Promoting Literacy in the Cotswolds

Chipping Norton Literary Festival has a strong commitment to removing barriers to books for children. It prides itself on its work with children across the Chipping Norton area, placing authors in eleven schools and one Children’s Centre across the area, on the Friday of the Festival, and providing free children and family events across the weekend.

Prime Minister David Cameron, in his letter of support to the Festival, praised the commitment of the Festival in its work with children, saying: “What I find particularly impressive is the passionate way in which Chipping Norton Literary Festival strives to include children in their programme. If we want to give children the best chance in life, we need to help them develop the skills, aspirations and experience they need to fulfil their potential and reading is absolutely central to this.”

From its origins in 2012, the Festival was clear that it wanted to remove barriers to children’s participation in its four day event and so made the decision to take the Literary Festival to eleven schools in Chadlington; Charlbury; Enstone; Great Rollright; Great Tew; Hook Norton; Kingham; Middle Barton; and directly in the Chipping Norton area, Holy Trinity; St. Mary’s; Ace Centre; CNS; as well as a Children’s Centre. Merilyn Davies, Children’s Programme Coordinator said: “We wanted to ensure children were included in the Festival from the very beginning and that we removed as many stumbling blocks to this, as possible. So we took the Festival to them via their schools! And we have worked hard to put on as many free events as possible for them and their families, across the weekend. We think this has resulted in a colourful, exciting programme, which will show children the many ways they can discover the magic hidden in the pages of books!”

The Festival events across the weekend are for children of all ages, run by familiar names including Jez Alborough - author of Nat the Cat and Hug, and Philip Ardagh, the award-winning author of Grubtown Tales and the Eddie Dickens series. Children will be able to take part in a Where’s Wally treasure hunt, play on the Oxfordshire Playbus, make sock puppets, or just rest in the Kids’ Café. And if they’re lucky, they might even spot a rather large Paddington Bear walking around the town, looking for his marmalade sandwiches!

The Festival’s commitment to promoting literacy in children is seen in their links with the Literacy Trust; a national charity which works to raise literacy standards in children. The Literacy Trust is currently running a campaign across Oxfordshire focusing on literacy standards in boys. For more information, visit http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/oxfordshire_reading_campaign.

In line with the Festival’s ethos to remove barriers to books, the Festival approached Storybook Dads to be its official Festival charity partner, and were delighted when they accepted. Storybook Dads provides a service for fathers in prison, enabling them to record a bedtime story for their children. ChipLitFest is proud to be associated with this charity. Their work in ensuring children are able to benefit from a bedtime story, despite the physical barrier of prison, perfectly reflects the Festivals ethos of promoting inclusivity and equality of access to books for all.

Visit www.chiplitfest.com

Posted : 21/02/2013 16:55:46

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