All aboard!

Young primary school children from across the Geelong region are set to board Geelong Regional Libraries’ annual Story Train this Friday 2 March 2018.

A free, full-day excursion provided by Geelong Regional Library Corporation, the Story Train steams off from Drysdale station aboard the Bellarine Railway to Queenscliff.

Specialist children’s and youth services (CYS) librarians will be dressed up in colourful character costumes and armed to the hilt with storybooks, songs and games guaranteed to engage and delight almost 200 school children, ranging from Prep to Grade Two.

Story Train is an annual highlight for CYS library staff who embrace the opportunity to deliver important literacy education through a day of fun activities while also treating the children to a train ride and picnic in Queenscliff’s beautiful Princess Park.

Chair of the Geelong Regional Library Board, Cr Margot Smith, said the annual Story Train event had been promoting a life-long love of reading and literacy for over a decade.

“The Story Train is such a fantastic event and we are very proud of the contribution it is making to the development of early literacy skills, particularly as it is offered first to schools from lower socio-economic areas of the region,” Cr Smith said.

“Geelong Regional Libraries has an important role to play in improving early childhood literacy and this is reflected in our extensive children’s programs and initiatives such as the Story Train.”

A recent industry report compiled by State Library Victoria and the Public Libraries Victoria Network, entitled Reading and Literacy For All, states that the early school years can be a critical time when determining a child’s future literacy.

“Our state and our nation are facing significant social and economic challenges…” the report states, “…not all children have parents who are able to read to them or can afford to purchase books or provide them with literacy-based activities.”

Story Train is just one of many initiatives offered by Geelong Libraries, aimed at early literacy development. Other free activities include weekly story time sessions for babies, toddlers and preschoolers; as well as numerous fun and educational activities for school-age children throughout the term and during school holidays.