A celebration of reading and writing events for children

WRITING workshops, reading groups and lessons from a children’s illustrator are just some of the events for children and young people in this year’s WordFest.

Where do stories come from? Family event with author Julia Lee
Where do stories come from? Family event with author Julia Lee

The importance of reading for children is a topic of discussion regularly in the news and a focus for schools and parents.

There is always a push to encourage children and young people to engage with texts and to enjoying doing so.

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A recent report by the Institute of Education, London University, examined the reading habits of 6,000 children and concluded children who read for pleasure were better at maths and English than those with a parent holding a degree.

As WordFest approaches there are a number of activities young readers can get involved with.

Rosalind Turner, of WordFest, said: “There has been much concern and debate over recent years about the difficulties in children’s literacy and encouraging children and young people to read, particularly boys and young men.

“This is a topic which requires some deeper research and consideration, as the picture is mixed. There have been frequent scare stories over the impact of television and computer games on children’s reading.

This is reflected in social and political concerns about learning and whether Britain is falling behind in a globally competitive market due to a decline in educational standards.

“Against this is the huge success of books such as J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter series, vampire-themed teenage novels and the growth of e-readers for all ages. Look around on a bus, train, airport and you will see most people, of all ages, with their nose stuck in a book or reading a screen.

“Over the next few weeks, we want to discuss this topic in more depth with local teachers, parents, children and young people.”

West Sussex libraries feature regular drop-in sessions for parents and under-fives for singing and story telling.

Shoreham WordFest has organised a range of events to appeal to different age groups. In the Adur Short Story Competition earlier this year there were more than 100 entries from junior age upwards.

The event rounded off with readings and prize giving on World Book Night on April 23. All the entries were displayed in Shoreham Library.

Where do stories come from? is a family event with author Julia Lee on Saturday, October 5, at 11.30am in the Shoreham Centre, Pond Road. Julia will read from her children’s book The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesowrth and talks about what inspired her to write.

There is also a children’s drawing workshop with illustrator Guy Parker-Rees on Saturday, October 5, at 2.30 for five to eight year-olds.

Monsters and Minotaurs is a hands-on story-telling workshop through graphic novels with Hannah Eaton and Nye Wright on September 28 at 3pm at the Shoreham Centre.

For more information pick up a WordFest guide or visit www.shorehamwordfest.com or call 07522 957691.