A year-long celebration of reading, involving schools throughout Birmingham, launched in the city last week. The Birmingham Year of Reading will provide free books and library cards for as many as 120,000 children in the city, as well as high-profile author events, workshops, learning resources and book award shadowing, all available to any school in the city wishing to sign up for just £1 per pupil.
The 12-month event is the brainchild of The Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP), a group of dedicated education professionals who joined together to provide support and advice to Birmingham schools following the withdrawal of local authority services after government cuts. The main aims of the Year of Reading, as set out by the BEP, are to close the gender gap in reading and raise attainment across the board, resulting in more children in Birmingham schools achieving level 6 reading by the time they finish primary school.
As one of the three main sponsors, (alongside Birmingham Children’s University and Oxford University Press), Birmingham-based library and schools supplier Peters Books & Furniture will be working with the BEP and all participating schools to help make The Year of Reading a success.
The launch event, part of which was held at Peters on the 9th September, was a lively affair, with rousing speeches from The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Peters’ MD Ray Dyer, BEP CEO Alastair Falk, and an entertaining presentation from Astrosaurs and Young Bond author, Steve Cole.
Ray Dyer, Managing Director of Peters Books & Furniture, said: “We know literacy rates are quite low across the country, including in Birmingham, which is why when the Birmingham Education Partnership approached us we didn’t hesitate to say yes… One of our aims is to put books in the hands of children, and for some it could be the first book they’ve ever owned. We hope that will be just the first part of a lifelong journey.” There's an article in the Birmingham Mail celebrating the launch.
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