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Books for Schools - As £20,000 giveaway gathers pace, reading is more vital than ever for children

PUBLISHED: 07:30 27 November 2018

Hillside Primary School is busy collecting tokens for the Books For Schools Campaign   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Hillside Primary School is busy collecting tokens for the Books For Schools Campaign Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Our £20,000 big Books for Schools giveaway is gathering pace, with bonus tokens in your newspapers this week. So just how vital is it for schools to get their hands on new books?

Children at Hillside having fun in the library    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren at Hillside having fun in the library Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tokens are being printed every day in the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star. This week, there are 10 tokens in both newspapers on Tuesday, November 27, Wednesday, November 28 and also in the EADT on Saturday, December 1.

Sarah Hodge, librarian at Hillside Primary School and Nursery in Ipswich, said: “Obviously, books are incredibly important, and, for all our schools, it’s essential that all our children are reading.”

Children at Hillside love their library  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren at Hillside love their library Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Like other schools across the area, Hillside has been busy promoting the Books for Schools initiative to parents. This has included putting pleas for tokens in the school newsletter and asking parents in the playground to remember to bring the tokens in.

Altogether, 193 primary schools in Suffolk have signed up to take part in the campaign,

Children at Hillside Primary School enjoying their colourful library  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren at Hillside Primary School enjoying their colourful library Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Schools will receive £100 worth of books for every 1,000 tokens which are collected, and, at the end of the campaign, the four schools that collect the highest number of tokens per student will each receive £2,500 worth of books.

Mrs Hodge said it was a great time for children’s literature, with many good books being produced to encourage children to read.

Hillside Primary School is busy collecting tokens for the Books For Schools Campaign   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNHillside Primary School is busy collecting tokens for the Books For Schools Campaign Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I’m sure the titles we will be looking to get include the new Tom Gates book, What Monster?, and books from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

“Children are obviously aware of the new books out there through things like social media,”

However, she said that, as a school librarian, it was important for her to be aware of, and promote, the full range of books available for children, not just the most popular titles.

The number of books which children have access to at home can vary, and obviously books can be expensive for some households. But Mrs Hodge said: “That’s what school libraries are here for, so that every child has the opportunity to read a book.”

She added it was also important for schools to point children in the direction of their public libraries, and encourage them to use the great resources there.

The role of parents in promoting reading is vital, and Mrs Hodge said it was especially essential for parents to read with pre-school children.

Particular titles did not matter, however. “The important thing is just reading a good selection.”

The closing date for collecting tokens will be Saturday, December 8, and winners will be announced in January.

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