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Signed Storytime Launches at Storyhouse

Some of the best stories in Chester’s children library will be brought to life for D/deaf children thanks to a local charity.

Deafness Support Network (DSN) will host the first in a series of signed story time’s at Storyhouse on Monday, November 20th.

The sessions, which will take over the regular Under 5’s Storytime at 11.15am and another at 4pm for children of 5 and upwards, will include a story read by a member of the Storehouse engagement team, while it is signed by a British Sign Language (BSL) qualified interpreter.

Children will be treated to a snack and a drink at the Hunter Street-based arts complex, before getting the chance to learn basic signs from the respective book. The activity has been funded by the I’m Hear! Project, which has recently just secured an extra three years of funding from BBC Children In Need, which will take place live on Friday, November 17.

Gill Reeder, Executive Operations at DSN said: “Children with a hearing loss can often face barriers at home and school – often feeling excluded. This is a fun and interactive exercise that will get both D/deaf and hearing children working together, building friendships and we are thrilled to have Storyhouse supporting our initiative.”

The first story to be read will be ‘That’s Better’, DSN’s very own children’s book to help promote inclusivity and raise awareness of simple ways in which D/deaf people can often be excluded.

Signed Storytime’s at Storyhouse will be free but bookable on a first come first served basis. The readings will take place for under 5’s at 11.15am and at 4pm for over 5’s. Parents/guardians must be present throughout the sessions, which will take no longer than 30 minutes, including the BSL signing sessions immediately afterwards.

Alex Clifton, Artistic Director for Storyhouse said: “We welcome thousands of children to our library every week, hundreds of them listen to a story. We want Storyhouse to be a place for everyone. No one should be excluded from seeing theatre or film or exploring and enjoying our spaces because of a disability, especially being told a story.”

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