Storytelling is key to learning

Parents received their certificates from Blackpool Mayor Coun Kath Rowson after completing a course run by Better Start

Parents received their certificates from Blackpool Mayor Coun Kath Rowson after completing a course run by Better Start

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Sharing stories, songs and rhymes at home will help children in Blackpool get more out of their lessons when they start school.

Parents have been presented with certificates after attending the Making it REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy) course which encourages them to create a learning environment at home.

The initiative is part of the Better Start programme aimed at improving the life chances of pre-school children from Blackpool’s most deprived areas.

Better Start has rolled out the project across the town, and hopes to encourage parents to volunteer to become REAL Champions and pass on their knowledge to others.

Sarah Lambert, development manager for the Centre for Early Child Development said: “It was evident there were some gaps in the home learning environment, but there was also a lack of programmes to help parents support their child’s communication and literacy in the home.

“Many parents underestimate the impact sharing stories, songs and rhymes can have on their child’s education, and no one was telling them. It’s more than fun and games, for children, it is where learning starts.”

Studies have shown that parents who introduce their babies to books may be laying the foundation for achievement at school, giving them an advantage over their peers throughout primary school.

Jackie Simpson, family learning manager for Blackpool Council, said: “Every parent who took part said they noticed a remarkable difference in their children when they implemented what they had learned in the course.

“They were surprised at the positive impact it had on their child’s communication, and how quickly their children developed new literacy skills.

The next REAL course takes place on Wednesdays from October 5 to 26 from 10am to noon in the Community Room at Sainsbury’s on Talbot Road.

The programme is free, and anyone wishing to take part should contact Jackie Simpson at Jackie.simpson@blackpool.gov.uk or by calling on (01253) 478112.