Wisbech Reads initiative launched to get more people in Wisbech reading with literary festival planned

MP Steve Barclay has given his backing to Wisbech Reads.

MP Steve Barclay has given his backing to Wisbech Reads. - Credit: Archant

A five-year initiative has been launched to improve literacy in Wisbech.

Wisbech Reads aims to encourage more adults to get into reading and to help their children enjoy books too with the goal of improving literacy skills across all ages.

It is being organised by a consortium made up of local schools, the library, businesses and other interested bodies including local councils.

Literacy levels among Wisbech school pupils is way below the national average.

Orchards School head teacher Nicola Parker said: “Literacy is a real problem in Wisbech and it needs addressing not just in schools but in the wider community. Having employees with better literacy skills will benefit businesses,”

Carrie Norman, principal of Peckover Primary School, said many pupils starting school have baseline levels so low they are at least half their age behind.

This issue continues throughout their school careers with children achieving reading levels far below their chronological age, she added.

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On July 10 and 11, a literature festival will be held in the Town Park. The aim is for school pupils to attend on the Friday, then return on the Saturday with their parents and carers to show the fun side of reading for all the family.

Louise Aldridge, of Cambridgeshire Libraries Service, said the festival would include storytelling and fun activities linked to literature.

However, the consortium needs support from local businesses to help the event get off the ground.

“We are really keen to see business representatives join us on the working party so they can work with us on this very important issue,” she said.

North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay has also pledged his support to the “great” initiative.

He said: “Wisbech Reads is a great initiative which I hope local people will get behind and support. Having good literacy is the key to so many other skills including maths and science.”

Any businesses interested in joining the working party should e-mail tdavies@brookeweston.org