A new festival to encourage a love of reading in Maidenhead is set to launch this spring.
Maidenhead’s Big Read is the brainchild of Stephan Stephan who, in his capacity as a Rotary member, has co-ordinated reading volunteers in schools for the last 10 years.
The event will take place from Saturday, March 2 to Sunday, March 17 in communal spaces in the town and schools and is aimed at both children and adults alike.
Stephan said: “My passion is about children reading because if a child doesn’t read fluently by the time they finish primary school, they struggle for the rest of their lives.”
Stephan believes most book festivals celebrate an enjoyment of reading rather than present an opportunity to nurture this interest in more reluctant readers.
He recognises that ‘some people don’t have time to read at home’ but thinks that parents can play a vital role in fostering reading for pleasure. ABC to Read, a charity that helps Berkshire children to read, will be holding sessions with parents about how to engage their children with the activity.
Over the three weekends of the festival, Stephan is hoping to have storytelling project Once Upon a Bus and the mobile library in the High Street.
A book-swap shop will also be open throughout the festival and occupy two vacant shop spaces in the Nicholson’s Centre. It will be a place to listen to stories being read as well as taking a pew in the soft seating and picking up a book, magazine, comic or newspaper.
It is hoped that there will be some book giveaways and competitions and Usborne Books will have a pop-up shop in town every weekend and pitch up at schools during the week.