Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beanstalk celebrates 40 years of raising the national standard of children's literacy with a special book, "Jack and the Beanstalk and other Beany Stories, Poems and Jokes"

Today is the 40th Anniversary of the national children’s literacy charity Beanstalk, (www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk).

To celebrate, the charity is publishing a book called "Jack and the Beanstalk and other Beany Stories, Poems and Jokes".

This brilliant collection of specially commissioned stories by childrens authors including Sarwat Chadda, Linda Chapman, Steve Cole, Richard Dungworth, Saviour Pirotta, Ronne Randall, Chris Riddell, Frank Rodgers, Francesca Simon, Paul Stewart, Natasha Taroghion Budd and Kit Wright.

 Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, as Patron of the charity, has provided the book's foreword. The collection of stories and jokes uses the original and popular Jack and the Beanstalk story as inspiration, spinning new stories to engage readers of all ages whether reading or read to.

The book will be published by the charity tomorrow (12th June) and given, free of charge, to every child the organisation has helped this year, as well as to their Beanstalk volunteer reading helpers and schools for their school libraries. In all, 16,000 copies are being given away. It isn’t for sale to the general public but it is available to download, for free, from the Beanstalk website, with additional teaching resources. We're particularly impressed by Chris Riddell's cover and no child will be able to resist those corny beany jokes, I guarantee you!

Many children still leave primary school unable to read to the level required to allow them to succeed at secondary school and in life - 70,000 of them in England in July 2012, or 13% of leavers. Beanstalk trains volunteers to give one-to-one support in primary schools to children who are struggling with reading. When the charity was founded in 1973, there were just seven reading helpers working in two schools. Today, forty years later, Beanstalk boasts a network of over 2,100 working reading helpers and aims to support 7,500 children across the country by the end of this academic year.

If you have time to spare and would like to join in, please visit the Beanstalk Charity website and see how to get involved and how to become a reading volunteer in your area.