BRADFORD Libraries' annual Rhyme Challenge is being launched today.

The challenge, which encourages children under five and their families to learn five rhymes together and receive a certificate, starts with toddler groups, schools and private day nurseries during the autumn and sees library venues taking part during the New Year.

Last year 7,760 parents and children took part in the challenge across the district, increasing participation by 17 per cent on the previous year.

The challenge is launching at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Keighley, in honour of the winner of last year’s Bradford Libraries Rhyme Challenge Individual Award - Rachel Parker, Senior Social Worker for the Catholic Care Group.

The goal of the challenge is to encourage parents to have fun whilst singing rhymes with their children. Research has shown this helps child development in areas such as communication and language growth.

Every child who joins the challenge will receive rhyme sheets and certificates of success. Children who take this certificate to their local library will be in with a chance to win prizes including story sacks and nursery rhyme puppet sets.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council's Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: "The Bradford Libraries Rhyme Challenge is now becoming an established part of Early Years calendars each year and we are thrilled that families with young children will have the opportunity to be part of it again this year.

"Rhymes encourage reading and libraries are best placed to offer this challenge for parents to encourage their children on a reading journey for life."

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To find out where your nearest Bradford Libraries Rhyme Challenge is taking place contact Bradford Libraries Development Officer: Early Years on 01274 433684.