Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 27/08/2019. Tags: Teachers Education And Politics
Children’s Books Ireland is calling on the government to reinstate the school library grant which was abolished in Budget 2008. Valued at approximately €2.2m, the grant from the Department of Education and Skills was instrumental in helping schools to support their students’ needs in relation to literacy, numeracy and reading for pleasure.
Research has shown that reading for pleasure improves mental well-being, increases vocabulary, builds literacy and numeracy skills and is the strongest indicator of success at school and beyond. A lack of school libraries hits areas of socio-economic deprivation hardest and is particularly problematic for schools in rural areas, whose pupils will have more limited access to public libraries.
CEO of Children’s Books Ireland Elaina Ryan said: ‘Children’s Books Ireland welcomes and fully supports the call by The Society of St Vincent de Paul for the government to end voluntary donations and introduce free school books. Furthermore, our children need an appropriate selection of books to read for pleasure. We know that reading is linked with myriad positive outcomes for children, not least improved mental wellbeing. Many school libraries, where they exist, are stocked with dated, tatty, unsuitable books and some newly-built schools with dedicated library spaces have no books on their shelves. In numerous schools, teachers buy books with their own money, and cannot cater to the needs of students who use English as an additional language or who have learning difficulties.
As a nation that prides itself on its literary history and on having above average reading levels compared with our international peers, we need to invest in books and ensure that all children have equal opportunities to reap the benefits of having access to the joy of reading.’
Children’s Books Ireland’s vision is an Ireland in which books are central to every child’s life. The organisation works with corporate and philanthropic partners to ensure that all children have access to reading, including those most in need. In the last year, Children’s Books Ireland donated 5,500 books to schools and charities as well as bringing writers and illustrators into schools, training teachers and librarians to build a culture of reading and providing invaluable information to parents and carers about excellent books for their children. Preliminary results of a survey on school libraries and the needs of schools in relation to books, in partnership with University College Dublin and the School Library Association in the Republic of Ireland, will be published in the Autumn.
Children’s Books Ireland is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.