Families throughout the Bradford district are being urged to embrace the joy of rhymes as Bradford Council’s libraries service unveils the new edition of the Bradford Libraries Rhyme Challenge. The campaign encourages parents and children aged six and under to participate in a fun and educational activity centred around the enchanting world of rhymes.

This year’s Rhyme Challenge introduces fresh rhymes, with a unique Bradford Libraries twist on the classic “Row Row Row Your Boat” called “Run Run Run All Day To The Library.” Participants in the annual challenge, targeted at parents and children, learn five rhymes together, earning a certificate as a delightful reward for their active participation.

The featured rhymes include the energetic “Hop A Little, Jump A Little,” the maritime adventure “A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea,” and the charming “I Had A Little Turtle.” Additionally, families can enjoy the bilingual experience of singing “Brother John” in both English and Urdu.

The collaborative learning of rhymes by parents and children plays a pivotal role in fostering social bonds, aiding in speech and language development, and establishing a solid foundation for later reading skills. According to a recent study, singing to babies is essential for language acquisition, as infants grasp languages through rhythmic information found in nursery rhymes or songs.

Last year, over 5,000 participants, including children under five and their parents, took part in the Rhyme Challenge across the Bradford district. Bradford Libraries are optimistic about surpassing this number in the current round of the challenge.

The Rhyme Challenge is open for participation from January to May at various libraries across the district :

The libraries taking part in the challenge are:

Allerton Library (Café West) – Wednesdays 17, 24 April and 1, 8 May at 1.30pm Bingley Library – Thursdays 11, 18, 25 January and 1 February at 2.15pm Burley Library – Tuesdays 9, 16, 23 and 30 January at 9.30am City Library – Wednesdays 24, 31 January and 7, 14 February at 10am Clayton Library –Thursdays 8, 15, 22, 29 February at 10am Eccleshill Library – Mondays 15, 22, 29 January and 5 February at 2.30pm Great Horton Library – Thursdays 9, 16, 23, 30 May at 12noon Heaton Hub Library – Thursdays 7, 14, 21, 28 March at 11.30am Holme Wood Library – Thursdays 4, 11, 18, 25 April 11.30am Idle Library – Mondays 4, 11, 18, 25 March at 9.15am Ilkley Library – Thursdays 11, 18, 25 January and 1 February 10am Keighley Library –Saturdays 3, 10, 17, 24 February at 11am Manningham Library – Fridays 19, 26 January and 2, 9 February at 1.30pm Menston Library – Thursdays 22, 29 February and 7, 14 March at 10.30am Queensbury Library – Saturdays 13 April and 18 May at 11am Shipley Library – Wednesdays 17, 24, 31 January and 7 February at 9.15am and 9.50am Thornton Library – Wednesdays 21, 28 February and 6, 13 March at 11am Wibsey Library – Monday 29 January and 5, 12, 19 February at 10am Wyke Library – Tuesdays 5, 12, 19, 26 March at 2pm

In addition to library participation, the Rhyme Challenge extends to toddler groups, pre-schools, nurseries, schools, and family hubs throughout the district. Families also have the chance to enter a prize draw with enticing rewards such as Gruffalo Story Sacks and Nursery Rhyme Puppet Sets.

To partake in the Rhyme Challenge, interested individuals can reach out to their local library or connect with their nursery, toddler group, or childcare provider. Staff and volunteers engaged with children during the challenge will be eligible for the Bradford Libraries Rhyme Challenge Awards, recognizing excellence in libraries, toddler groups, and nurseries.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “Our annual Rhyme Challenge allows families to have fun while also developing the speech and language and communication skills of under 5s. It is an excellent start for their journey to a life-long love of reading.”