‘The joy of reading’: Almost half a million books distributed to Scottish children for Book Week Scotland

Books will be gifted to every pupil between primary one and three in Scotland

  • 459,950 books to be distributed throughout Scotland’s schools as part of the eighth Book Week Scotland
  • Efforts to promote literacy and a love of reading are the result of a collaboration between the Scottish Book Trust, the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Creative Scotland
  • Deputy First Minister John Swinney commented: “This intervention in the early years is crucial in helping to close the attainment gap in both literacy and numeracy”

ALMOST half a million books will be given to every child in Scotland between primary one and three as part of the eighth Book Week Scotland.

The celebration of literature and literacy, run by the national charity the Scottish Book Trust, will distribute the books as part of wider efforts to incorporate reading into childhood to increase wellbeing, confidence and mental health.

The scheme is the result of a partnership between the Scottish Book Trust, the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Creative Scotland, and will see 459,950 distributed throughout Scotland’s schools. In total, more than 133,500 bags of books will be distributed, with 63,500 book bags going to primary one pupils, along with 750 Gaelic bags, all containing three books each.

This year, the books included in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag have been shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize, such as The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears by Alastair Chisholm, Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood, and The Station Mouse by Meg McLaren.

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In this year’s ‘Read, Write, Count’ bags, which are given to primary two and three pupils, writing materials and counting games will also be included. These bags will contain books including The King Cat by Marta Altés and "You're Called What?!" by Kes Gray and Nikki Dyson, along with storytelling cards and dice, number games and a guide for parents to guide them in bring reading, writing and counting activities into their family’s daily lives.

Commenting, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I am delighted to see that as part of Book Week Scotland this year nearly half a million books will be gifted to children in primaries 1-3.

“We know that parental engagement has a significant impact on children’s academic achievement and I hope our gift bags will spark a lifelong love and appreciation of books and numbers for those receiving them.

“The books and counting games within our bags are a vital resource for some of our most vulnerable learners. This intervention in the early years is crucial in helping to close the attainment gap in both literacy and numeracy between young people from different backgrounds.”

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Scottish Book Trust CEO Marc Lambert added: “The books included in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bags are the shortlisted titles of our Bookbug Picture Book Prize, handpicked by young readers. Book Week Scotland is the perfect time to develop a love of reading with your child: sharing a story together is one of the most powerful ways to bond. There are also many Bookbug events taking place during Book Week Scotland, and we hope families will be able to attend a session, even if it's their first time.”

Creative Scotland head of literature, language and publishing Mairi Kidd also commented: "Developing the reading habit as children sets us up for a lifelong relationship with books that can boost almost every aspect of our wellbeing.

“The Bookbug bags will help to inspire families across Scotland to experience the joy of reading and promote family bonding. We’re enormously proud to support Scottish Book Trust in bringing this fundamental resource, and these wonderful experiences, to every P1-3 pupil in Scotland."

Picture courtesy of the Scottish Book Trust

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