Tracey Beaker author launches Words Count launch with Isle schools

Nick Sharratt.
Nick Sharratt.
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Around 1,200 school children from across North Lincolnshire turned out to the launch of Words Count, where award-winning children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt held a mass Draw Along.

The scheme that aims to encourage more people to read for pleasure was launched at The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe last month.

All the schools that took part in the Draw Along were really positive about the event and said how much the children enjoyed learning about Nick Sharratt’s illustrations and the ideas behind them.

Isle schools involved were Wroot Travis, Belton all Saints, Crowle Primary, Luddington and Garthorpe, Westwoodside, Althorpe and Keadby.

Nick showed the children how he draws his popular illustrations, including the well-known character Tracey Beaker. The children were then asked to draw along and illustrated different book characters.

Nick also talked to the children about how enjoyable reading can be, he said: “The Words Count launch was fantastic. I had such a good couple of days and did all sorts of wonderful things - all of which are to celebrate reading and the pleasure of reading, which is a brilliant thing to concentrate on.”

The video of Nick Sharratt’s visit to Scunthorpe is now available, including the Words Count launch and him opening Enderby Road Infant School’s new library. Take a look at the video on the council’s YouTube page: Click here

Through Words Count, the council wants to encourage people of all ages to read more and reap the many benefits. Evidence suggests that by developing a whole community approach to literacy, this can make a real difference to people’s life chances and skills for future employability for those most at risk of social exclusion.

Words Count follows on from the very successful Dolly Parton Imagination Library project that has resulted in 80 per cent of North Lincolnshire families joining the scheme. Children aged nought to five are eligible for the scheme and those registered receive a free book each month through the post.

Low literacy levels makes individuals and communities more vulnerable to inequality. Also, the achievement gap between young people who receive free school meals and the rest of their peers in North Lincolnshire is significantly wider in comparison to other parts of the country.

Councillor David Rose, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “The Words Count launch was a great success. It was wonderful to see so many school children from across North Lincolnshire taking part in the Draw Along with Nick Sharratt. It was such an honour to have Nick Sharratt return to Scunthorpe to launch this scheme – the children loved the interaction drawing along with him. We received some really positive feedback from the schools that took part.

“We want everyone to read more – not only that, we want them to enjoy doing it. You can learn so much from reading books and immerse yourself in great stories. Reading is really important, especially for children to ensure they get the best start in life.

“We want Words Count to make a real difference. The Imagination Library has already achieved great things; we are hoping Words Count can expand on this and get people of all ages reading.”

You can get involved in Words Count. The council is meeting with different organisations to gather ideas and suggestions for the campaign to reach and involve everybody working and living in North Lincolnshire. It would be fantastic to include your ideas and events in the Words Count programme. To share your ideas please contact Sandra Simmons, email: sandra.simmons@northlincs.gov.uk and Sarah Tipler, email: sarah.tipler@northlincs.gov.uk.

For more details about Words Count, visit Words Count .