JUNIOR and senior infant students from a Cork city primary school paid a class visit to their local library for the first time last week, as part of a new initiative to allow for greater library access for children in the community.
Some 60 junior infant and senior infant students from Togher Boys National School visited Tory Top Library, Ballyphehane last Wednesday where they enjoyed reading activities and a visit from Roald Dahl's Big Friendly Giant (BFG).
Staff members from Tory Top Library dressed up as superheroes, and the children were joined by parents and grandparents as they were treated to a special performance of the BFG.
Speaking to The Echo, Togher BNS principal Kieran Kelly hailed the library visit as a success, and explained it was part of an initiative to ensure greater library access for children at the school.
"The kids loved their first time in Tory Top Library which is a fantastic facility," said Mr Kelly.
"The staff were so good with the students. There was a great buzz and a lovely atmosphere in the library.
"It was a very successful day. A huge number of parents and grandparents were also in attendance on the day,” he added.
“The Big Friendly Giant also made a special appearance, and the kids were joking that he was taller than myself.
"The BFG also told the kids about his background story and the kids were fascinated by him. They were thrilled.”
Mr Kelly explained further that Togher BNS has set out to ensure that its students have more access to the local library.“
“We want to promote reading in the school," he said.
"We did a big review this year on literacy.
"Taking the young students to the library for their first class visit is the first initiative from the review," he added.
"Once kids start reading from a young age, it tends to stay with them as they grow older.
"It helps them to develop a love for it. It is a lovely initiative."
Mr Kelly praised the schools' home school liaison, Vivienne Manning, and the parents of the students for driving the initiative.
Togher BNS also established another new initiative in recent weeks which will see every junior and senior infant family receive three different books every week, featuring bedtime stories to be read every night.
"We are doing a massive push with this," said Mr Kelly.
"The junior infant and senior infant pupils are scheduled to go back to the library again in May.
Mr Kelly explained that the initiatives are all about making reading more accessible for children in the school.
“There will be lots of initiatives in the school going forward in collaboration with the parents," he said.
"All the students in each class have library cards and they all visit the library as well. We have a big connection with the library.
"They will be visiting the different authors who will be reading in the library. Every class will visit the library in the next couple of weeks. It is all about making reading more accessible. The biggest skill we can give them at this age is to start them off reading.”