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Reading gems for young bookworms

A magical hoard of reading gems has been discovered by young bookworms across Middlesbrough.

Nursery youngsters all received a special pack as part of Bookstart Treasure Week.

The three- and four-year-olds - all due to start full-time school this September - were given Simon Sock by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet or Max the Brave by Ed Vere.

The popular Bookstart Treasure Packs are a fantastic free annual resource designed to support reading and language development.

As the world's first national book-gifting programme, Bookstart encourages a love of books, stories and rhymes in children from as young an age as possible.

In addition to the story book, each pack contains a booklet full of tips for parents about sharing books together.

Bookstart is run by Book Trust, a charity dedicated to encouraging people of all ages and cultures to engage with books.

Throughout the week, nurseries laid on special sessions, with families invited to attend and take part. 

As part of the Middlesbrough Promise schools work closely with parents and carers to promote early reading experiences in the home.

Councillor Barrie Cooper, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Children's Services, said: "Books open up magical worlds of wonder and imagination for them, boost learning and help to bring families together.

"The earlier children discover the joy of reading, the more likely they are to continue into later life.

"Research shows that those who are read to daily form close bonds with their parents and carers and reach education milestones quicker than children who are not.

"Quite simply the most important message for dads, mums and carers is that it's never too early to start reading to their children."

Find out more about Bookstart on the Book Trust website.