Vince Cable visits Twickenham Library to promote family reading

By Fiona O’Brien

Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic…

Secretary of State Vince Cable was first in line to take part in Booktrust’s teddy bears event at Twickenham Library, which was held to promote family reading time.

Last Friday’s event was part of the charity’s National Bookstart Week, which encouraged families across the country to attend superhero themed events to help children develop a lifelong passion for reading.

Ten families attended Friday’s event, with all teddies dressed in capes and superhero masks, as Mr Cable recited early years classics such as Incy Wincy Spider and Jack and Jill.

“National Bookstart Week is a great event. It was really lovely to see a dozen or more very young children participating with their parents and enjoying the rhymes and rhythms, even if they are too young to read,” he said.

“I read to my children every night and my grandchildren when I get the chance – it’s a great habit. Research highlights the importance of the Early Years.

“The more we can help people to learn how to read and appreciate what books have to offer, the better our children will be. I think what’s happening here is a really good way to encourage families to keep the tradition going.”

Mr Cable and the Booktrust Bear then acted as competition judges to award the day’s best-dressed teddy and runner-up prizes.

The teddy superheroes day was one of 4,000 National Bookstart Week events that took place in libraries, nurseries and children’s centres nationwide.

Booktrust gives parents and carers 2.5 million free books annually to read with their babies and preschool children, as research has shown a family reading environment benefits children greatly in later years.

Findings from the Institute of Education shows that children who are read to regularly by their parents at age five perform better in maths, vocabulary and spelling at age 16 than other children.

Viv Bird, Chief Executive of Booktrust, said: “All the research shows that reading together strengthens family bonds and helps children do better at school, whatever the family’s background.

“You don’t have to be a great reader yourself to share a story with your children – often you just need to let the pictures carry you both along.”

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