Barnsley-based project aims to boost reading and communication skills among young children

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Young children in Barnsley are to benefit from a new project that aims to improve their reading and communication skills.

Worsbrough Common Primary School has received a grant of £15,000 from SHINE to fund “123, Read With Me”, a three-year project benefitting 180 4-5-year-olds.

The programme is aimed at helping parents to develop their children’s reading, writing and communication skills at home.

Parents are being urged to take part in a series of workshops and activities in school, which show the importance of reading, and demonstrate how it can be fun for both parents and their children.

All those taking part will receive bedtime story packs so they can continue reading at home each night. Sessions will be themed, and involve rhymes, songs, art and games.

Kate Ainley, deputy headteacher at Worsbrough Common Primary, explained: “The project aims to address low levels of communication, language and literacy of children on entry to school. This is particularly an issue for disadvantaged children.

“We are building partnerships with parents and helping them to engage in their children’s learning, with a particular focus on reading.

“Nationally, many children, particularly those who are more disadvantaged, do not have opportunities to share and, enjoy and learn from stories in their homes and many parents are not aware of the importance of this or have the skills to do this effectively with their children.

“With these workshops, we are helping parents to support their children’s learning and promoting the importance of reading at home.”

Parents are also shown how children are taught reading and writing at school, using techniques such as phonics, which helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another.

If any parents can’t make it to the sessions, the school has also produced videos to make sure they don’t miss out.

We were over the moon to get the grant because we're really passionate about working with parents, and this gives us the backing to do all that.

Kate Ainley Deputy headteacher, Worsbrough Common Primary

The project came to fruition after staff put together a bid for funding from SHINE, a charity which funds projects that help to narrow the disadvantage gap for children in the North of England.

“We were over the moon to get the grant because we’re really passionate about working with parents, and this gives us the backing to do all that,” Ms Ainley said. “It gives us the funding and the support to put that programme in place.”

The first workshops have already begun, and they have proved popular with both parents and children.

Rebecca Paddock, headteacher at Worsbrough Common Primary, said: “It has been great to see our newest families coming together to support their children at home.

“The sessions have had a great buzz and it’s amazing to see parents and children working together.”

Dr Helen Rafferty, Interim CEO of SHINE, added: “We’re really excited to be working with Wosborough Primary School, and it’s wonderful to see teachers and families working together to get the very best outcomes for the children. We know that reading together is so important to early development, and we hope these fun, engaging activities will see positive benefits for everyone involved.”