YOUNG readers have been given a present which teachers hope will make a difference to the rest of their lives.
Schoolchildren have been visiting Blackpool and The Fylde College to spend afternoons reading, listening to stories and learning about the joy of books.
Children from nine primary schools across the Fylde coast were invited to the Palatine Road campus after the college raised funds to give each child their own book.
The college raised the money in response to figures from the Literacy Trust about children’s reading habits.
Researchers had undertaken a study which showed many children do not own their own book and are not encouraged to read for pleasure.
The College has established The Young Illuminators Programme in response to this.
Deborah Hewitt, a lecturer at the School of Society, Health & Childhood, said: “The sessions came from research about the importance of reading for pleasure.
“We wanted to do something positive for children, to increase life chances, and encourage reading for pleasure.”
The Literacy Trust has found that one in three children did not own a book, 20 per cent had never received a book as a gift and seven per cent had never been to a library.
Schoolchildren from Hawes Side, Thames, Roseacre, Waterloo and Revoe primary schools listened to stories and left with a copy of a specially written book aimed at encouraging a love of books and learning.
Pupils from Thornton Primary, Marton Primary and St Chad’s CofE Primary visited the school last week for an afternoon.
Each child was given a copy of a book, Illuminators, which it is hoped will encourage children to read more.
Illuminators was written by a member of staff from the college and tells the story of Mo and Maisy who are encouraged to read by the Illuminators, but teased for it by the Snotgoblins.
Mrs Hewitt said: “Illuminators the name relates to Blackpool which gives the children some ownership of it and an identity for the them to relate to.”
Mark Gray, a teacher at Waterloo Primary School, said: “I believe developing the joy of reading and love of books should be at the centre of learning for every child.
“I’d like the programme to continue and develop with a series of story telling workshops in the schools.”
A total of 350 schoolchildren joined the sessions and received the book.