London mayor and pop singer join scheme to improve reading and writing skills of young children across the capital
Boris Johnson and Peter Andre formed an unlikely double act on Tuesday as they joined forces to promote a literacy project for young children [once there were libraries – Ed]. The mayor of London and the Mysterious Girl singer took turns to read passages from Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo to a group of schoolchildren at the launch of the scheme, run by the National Literacy Trust.
The project aims to improve the literacy of children in London aged three to five and prepare them for school. The initiative is part of Team London, the mayor's strategy to recruit volunteers to deliver key projects that enhance opportunities for residents of the capital. The mayor hopes to sign up 500 volunteers from across London to work with more than 2,000 families in the city, encouraging parents to read to their children regularly and participate in reading workshops.
Speaking at Botwell Green library in Hayes, west London, Johnson said: "This is incredibly important because we are trying to encourage volunteers to come and help parents to get the confidence they need to read to their kids. The difference needs to be made at a very early stage in their lives. Once you've cracked reading at an early age then you'll never look back, but if you don't get it then it's very hard to recover. That's why it's very important to crack it early on. This is not just economics, it is not just about people getting jobs. If you can read, you will open for yourself the door to a most unimaginable treasure house of riches. It is very, very important that people do acquire this skill."
Andre said: "Reading to your children is very important. One-on-one with your children, it's all about bonding, and these are the things you remember."