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2019 Highlights: Inspiring children and young people to have a passion for reading

Written by Rachael Norris, 26th December 2019
2019 has been a landmark year for The Reader with the opening of the Mansion House, developing our new programme at Calderstones and growing our Shared Reading communities across the country. We wanted to take a look back at all the brilliant things that have happened this year - starting with our highlights from the Children and Young People team. Our Children and Young People team operate The Storybarn, amongst many other brilliant reading projects and initiatives aimed at inspiring young people to have a passion for reading.

In 2019 we helped 1000+ children across the North West enjoy reading for pleasure with the First Page project. We trained three cohorts of Reading Heroes volunteers to read one-to-one with looked after children and secured funding to double our targets in the region - we now have two projects running: Reading Heroes and Super Reading Heroes. If you love reading and can spare around an hour a week get in touch to find out more.
Over the month of December, we welcomed 691 children to meet Father Christmas and his elves at our interactive storytelling experience The Night Before Christmas. We are sad to see Father Christmas and his Elves go back to the North Pole, but are looking forward to a new year of Incy Wincy Rhymers and The Storyhunters sessions starting back up again on Thu 2 January - you can book tickets for our new year sessions now.
At The Storybarn this year there have been over 250 Incy Wincy Rhymers sessions and over 100 The Storyhunters sessions where we have shared countless rhymes, songs, games and stories with you and your little ones. Over the school holidays we hosted Bursting into Verse, Springing into Stories, Seeds of Discovery, Spooky Roots, Welly Walks and Teddy Bears Picnics, too.

Fern and Star Photography

The Storybarn has hosted more than 50 Birthday Parties this year! We made 46 #StorybarnBookoftheWeek reccomendations, welcomed more than 25 schools to visit the Calder Stones  and have taken Storybarn On The Road to many Primary Schools across the North West as well as to places like The Albert Dock, Whitby Park and Old Swan Library.
We have enjoyed four Family Fun Days at The Storybarn, welcoming old and new partners from the First Page Project, and we had visits from two authors, and one illustrator, who all signed our authors wall in The Storybarn. Both our Liverpool City Region and GM mayors, Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, also visited us in November.
And we won an award! The Storybarn was voted 'Best in Learning' at the 2019 Hoop Awards.
We want to say a huge thank you to all of our visitors and volunteers - we couldn't have done it without you!
If you want to volunteer with us, partner with us or visit us at The Storybarn in 2020 then get in touch with the Children and Young People team by emailing

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