Thousands of children across Portsmouth are trying to read for 100 million minutes in March as part of a UK-wide campaign from Achievement for All to inspire young people to read more regularly and lead brighter futures
Toddlers and pre-school children from Boogie Mites, who offer all early years families and practitioners the knowledge, resources and confidence to harness the brain boosting fun of active music, joined in the fun on Thursday 15th March at Eastney Community Centre in Portsmouth as part of Boogie Mites support of the Challenge.
Challenge mascot Milli the Millipede and Flick Drummond, a Conservative Party politician, visited Boogie Mites mini and school ready sessions where children were read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar story before dancing to the Boogie Mites song, Munch Munch Munch.
Across the UK, schools, parents, carers, libraries, early years settings and community groups alike are working together to inspire the 400,000 children and young people who are taking part in the 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge to engage with reading and understand the worlds and possibilities that literacy will unlock.
Nicole Heard, Boogie Mites Portsmouth Licensee said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Achievement for All on their 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge! The families that attend the Boogie Mites sessions have really come on board, swapping books and logging their minutes. The children have loved listening to the story and then acting it out within our Boogie Mites song.
“Evidence shows us that we can tackle the school ready attainment gap through music intervention in the early years through brain boosting creative music and movement. There are lots of synergies between Boogie Mites work and Achievement for All’s 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge to ignite a lifelong love of reading that starts from the early years onwards. Over March we are proud to be getting involved in our classes across the country.”
Local Conservative Party politician, Flick Drummond, who attended the event said: “‘I have always been passionate about reading and music and am delighted to support the 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge and, in particular, Boogie Mites which combines both. Getting young children interested in books through music is a great start to a lifelong enjoyment of reading. We have a long heritage of famous authors in this city so I hope that Portsmouth children and young people will be leading the challenge as readers and also writers.”
The challenge from award-winning charity Achievement for All, follows recent data from The National Literacy Trust, which found that children born into communities with the most serious literacy challenges – who are more likely to live in deprived areas, do worse at school, be less financially well-off and have poorer health – have some of the lowest life expectancies in England.
The Social Mobility Commission’s State of the Nation 2017: Social Mobility in Great Britain report in November 2017 showed that Portsmouth fell within the 40% to 50% bracket when performance was viewed against school social mobility indicators. In June 2016, The Social Mobility Index Government report ranked Portsmouth 24th worst performing Local Authority in the country for Youth Social Mobility.
Maureen Hunt, Early Years Lead at Achievement for All, which heads-up the initiative said: "Literacy levels are one of the greatest drivers of social inequality in the UK today. We must work to build brighter futures for all children and young people and the evidence shows that developing good literacy skills can have a huge impact on life chances and this journey starts in the early years!
“We are delighted that so many early years settings, parents, carers and community groups across the UK are taking part in our reading challenge and we would like to say a huge thank you to Boogie Mites for their fantastic support. I urge everyone to think about how they can support the children and young people in their local communities to become lifetime readers, achieve and lead happy lives.”
The 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge is running until Thursday 29th March, with events taking place across the country to inspire all children, young people and their families, including the most reluctant of readers and those that are vulnerable to underachievement.
Boogie Mites are supporting the Challenge by providing all early years settings that take part with free access to three songs from their School Ready Literacy programme.
To register your place on the challenge or for further information on the campaign and its supporters, please visit www.100millionminutes.org.
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