Today Save the Children launched a report which details how boys are nearly twice as likely to fall behind at the time they start school. The research shows that boys are behind their female peers in every single local authority in England, but higher gender gaps are associated with higher levels of deprivation. It also identifies that high quality pre-school provision can help close the gender gap.
Public Libraries are crucially important in supporting all children to reach their potential. It is vital that children in the early years have free access to a wide range of books to build their confidence to engage with books and early literacy. Young children who visit public libraries are exposed to a huge variety of books and a range of reading experiences and choices.
Children need to be able to choose the books they are interested in, including stories and rhymes but also non-fiction. Libraries also offer rhyme time sessions which help to build language and communication skills and also support children’s concentration and focus through physical actions.
The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) welcome this report and encourage all those working with young children and their families to support them to visit their libraries to ensure that boys and girls benefit from the wealth of opportunities they will discover.