Festival shows children books are fun

The Oxford Times: Caroline Watson, left, children’s programme co-ordinator, with Clare Mackintosh, festival director Caroline Watson, left, children’s programme co-ordinator, with Clare Mackintosh, festival director

ORGANISERS are hoping more children will get involved in this year’s Chipping Norton Literary Festival.

The event, which is now in its third year, will continue to include authors for youngsters and is branching out to include more schools.

Authors will again visit Chipping Norton School but will also engage with children at Kingham Hill School and the ACE Centre – which was under threat of closure last year.

Speakers will include Charlie and Lola author Lauren Child and illustrator Korky Paul.

Caroline Watson, children’s programme co-ordinator, said: “By going to the children’s centre we will be able to open this world up to children between the ages of two and three-and-a-half.

“What we really want to do is give children a sense of enjoyment of books and show them that books are fun.

“Books are there to be shared and to have fun with.

“There is a lot of emphasis on reading in schools, and through the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign, so it is very important.”

Mrs Watson added: “I know my boys enjoy reading but it is not always the same for some children.

“We want to encourage children to read more.”

The sessions at the schools will not just include “traditional” novels, but will also branch out to a comic book workshop.

During this session, children will be able to create their own comic strip.

Mrs Watson said: “With the ACE Centre we have been able to get an author, Craig Green, in there who will try to get children interested in rhymes and rhythms for about half-an-hour.

“It should give children access to those authors and there will be a variety so there will be something for everybody.”

Throughout the four days, speakers will include celebrities like bestselling novelist Joanna Trollope, former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson, former Tory cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, author Kate Mosse and the much-travelled journalist Kate Adie.

The festival starts on Thursday, April 24 and runs until Sunday, April 27.

Tickets for events and talks are now available.

The Oxford Times:

FACTFILE

  • For more information call 01608 642350 or visit chiplitfest.com
  • In 55 per cent of schools on the scheme, more than 80.8 per cent of children achieved a Level 2b or above in KS1 during the first year
  • By September 2013, 95.4 per cent of children involved said they liked reading more than before
  • There are 63 schools across Oxfordshire involved

ABOUT THE SCHEME

  • The project is run between the National Literacy Trust, Oxford University Press and Edge Hill University, and supported by the Oxford Mail
  • It is a reading intervention programme, delivered by teaching assistants in school and using the Project X Code books produced by Oxford University Press, run alongside a one-to-one volunteer reading scheme, all working with Year 2 pupils

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