Young children are being encouraged to start 2014 with a rhyme.

Following the success of the 2013 Bookstart Rhyme Challenge, in which 160 families took part, Bradford Council’s Libraries Service has set up its own challenge for the New Year.

Last year’s challenge was also said to have helped pre-school children learn new words and become more confident at speaking and listening.

Up to 4,000 pre-school age children are expected to take part in the challenge which will involve learning five rhymes – Twinkle Twinkle; Incy Wincy Spider; Heads, Shoulders Knees and Toes; A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea and Bouncing up and Down on a Big Red Tractor.

The challenge runs from January to March and will take place over four sessions in which children can join in the rhymes and sing other rhymes.

The challenge started at Burley Library last week, and starts at Ilkley Library from Saturday, February 8, at 10.30am, and Menston Library on Saturday, February 15, at 10.30am.

Bookstart Bear will visit the libraries at their final session to help celebrate the completion of the challenge. Any new members will be welcomed.

For more details, contact your local library or check the website at and click on Children and Young People.

Councillor Ralph Berry, executive member for children’s services, said: “It has been proven that great rhymers become great readers. So while this is a fun activity, it is also laying the foundation stones for these children for when they learn how to read in reception classes.”

The challenge will also take place in toddler groups, private day nurseries and children’s centres.