Dan Snow helps Beanstalk to launch Story Starters in Stoke-on-Trent 2nd October 2017 Local literacy charity Beanstalk has launched Story Starters, a new programme that helps children aged 3-5 in nurseries and pre-schools to develop their language skills in order to become ready to read. The well-known historian and TV presenter Dan Snow, a Beanstalk Ambassador, joined Beanstalk and local marketing and PR company Purple Sprout to celebrate the beginning of this new programme at Stoke-on-Trent’s New Vic theatre. Beanstalk is now looking for volunteers to become Story Starters in early years’ settings in Stoke-on-Trent. Story Starters is a new collaborative project between Beanstalk, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and LuCid (a project based at the University of Liverpool) that aims to give children in Stoke-on-Trent the support they need to develop their language and reading skills. Research has shown that children who benefit from high-quality support in their early years start school on average three months ahead in their literacy and language skills, compared with children who don’t. Purple Sprout has signed up three of their members of staff to be among the first Story Starters in Stoke-on-Trent. Story Starter volunteers will visit children twice a week and support three children for 20 minutes each. The sessions are fun, interactive and hugely beneficial to the children receiving extra support. The child and volunteer will have access to a box full of books as well as an additional book every month delivered directly to them. Gail Washington, West Midlands Area Manager for Beanstalk, says “I’m delighted to have such an enthusiastic company like Purple Sprout already on board helping us with Beanstalk’s new Story Starters programme in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. All the guests at our launch event on Thursday recognise the importance of encouraging children to read from an early age and pledged support to encourage volunteers to come forward so they can be trained and start supporting local children as soon as possible. This will make a huge difference to the future of children in Staffordshire and we would welcome others to get behind Beanstalk to support our future workforce.” Find out more about becoming a Story Starter volunteer: You can find out more about becoming a Story Starter by visiting www.storystarters.org.uk, or calling Beanstalk on 0845 450 0307.