WITH many children now out of school for the foreseeable future is now “more important than ever” for them to read.

The National Literacy Trust has launched a free online Family Zone for parents looking for ways to keep children engaged and educated while not in school.

The charity has worked in Bradford for years to boost the District’s literacy levels, and the project has led to many success stories, including the Bradford Stories project..

Drawing on the charity’s expertise and partnerships with teachers, authors, publishers, educational organisations and corporates, local families can access engaging reading and writing activities, book lists, videos, competitions and reading challenges, curated for early years to early teens.

New Inspiring Parents project starts run by Bradford Stories

New activities and resources will be added regularly, as the charity develops innovate partnerships and features over the coming weeks and months.

Resources and activities for families to enjoy together at home include:

• Small Talk videos to help parents chat, play and read with their young child

• Top tips for enjoying audiobooks as a family

• A guide to building a reading den at home

• A Reading Miles Global Challenge to encourage children to read around the world

• Activity sheets based on popular children’s books as well as playful learning activities featuring CBeebies characters

• Author videos, including live stories with author Steve Antony, draw-along sessions with illustrator Rob Biddulph and poetry workshops with Sarah Crossan.

Imran Hafeez, Bradford Stories Manager, said: “There is no doubt that families in Bradford and across the UK will be facing unprecedented challenges in the months ahead, and with schools closed, it is more important than ever that children are encouraged to keep reading as they stay at home.

“Not only do books and audiobooks allow children to discover new worlds, meet new people and learn about the past, but they also have the power to transform lives. By sparking imaginations, stimulating critical thinking and helping develop empathy, reading gives children the very literacy skills they need to succeed in school, in work and in life.

“As well as the impact on learning that an absence from school will have, we believe that books and stories have an important part to play in the wellbeing and happiness of families during this difficult time. So we are encouraging parents and children to share stories together every day, whether that’s reading stories aloud, listening to audiobooks as a family or watching live story time videos by incredible children’s authors.

“Since 2014, Bradford Stories has worked directly with over 30,000 children, families and teachers, and gifted over 50,000 books to encourage Bradford to get reading and writing.

“This week we have launched our new Family Zone. This is our one-stop shop for parents seeking free ideas and guidance for fun and exciting literacy activities to engage their children at home, that also benefit their learning. From activities based on popular children’s books to building your very own reading den at home, we hope there is something for every Bradford family to enjoy.

“What’s more, Bradford Stories has launched a brand new Facebook @BradfordStories page to share literacy tips, advice and news with local families and communities. We will be doing everything we can to ensure that families in Bradford and being given the support they need to continue engaging their children in literacy learning at home during this time.”

To access the Family Zone visit literacyfamilyzone.org.uk