Every child deserves access to literature, says Bower, as motion passes on reading materials for refugee children

Alliance Ormiston Councillor Christine Bower has said that every single child deserves access to literature and the chance to develop their literacy skills and foster a love of reading.

Belfast City Council Christine Bower


She was speaking after her motion calling on the Council to look into providing free reading materials and literacy development tools to refugee children in their native languages passed on Thursday evening (2 May) at a meeting of the People & Communities Committee.
From this point, a report will be drawn up around accurate costings and a detailed plan of how the scheme will be ran, before it will be brought back to committee for a final vote.
Cllr Bower has said: “Every single child deserves access to literature and the chance to foster a love of reading. There are, however, so many refugee children in our city who have limited or no access to reading materials in their native language.
“The scheme I’m proposing would see children being given literature in their native languages, whilst Council officers would also be delivering reading support programmes to their parents and carers that would allow them to empower their children and continue developing their literacy skills.
“For refugee children, who’s lives have often already been touched by hardship and disruption, maintaining their native languages through literacy development can be so important for so many reasons, like preserving their cultural identity, maintaining critical family relationships, and developing their cognitive abilities.
“It’s encouraging that the request for a report into the feasibility of such a scheme was agreed to at this stage. I look forward to seeing this through into the future, and working with Council colleagues to make the scheme a reality.”