Bookstart is the national programme that encourages all
parents and carers to enjoy books with children from as early an
age as possible.
We want every child in the UK to develop a lifelong love of
books. Working through locally-based organisations, Bookstart gives
the gift of free books to children at around eight months and three
years, along with guidance materials for parents and carers.
Bookstart also aims to foster a love of books through a range of
fun activities. But Bookstart packs are only half of the gift to
children and their families. The other, more lasting gift is the
message of enjoying books together.
The books are chosen by Booktrust, an independent charity that
encourages people to discover and enjoy reading. Although Bookstart
works with different partners, including commercial sponsors,
charitable trusts and government departments, the book selection
process is independent and has no government or commercial
Bookstart is universal: Booktrust aims for every baby in the UK
to get a Bookstart pack. It is estimated that the programme
currently reaches 90 per cent of babies in the UK, and we're
working hard to fill the gaps.
Many parents are surprised to learn that babies can benefit from
books at such an early age, but research shows that babies and
toddlers who love books begin reading sooner and have a better
chance at school.
The first five years are the best time for learning to talk and
most of a child's language comes from the adults around them.
Enjoying books with babies and toddlers is a wonderful way to
increase language skills and helps children to understand their
Bookstart is a public and private partnership and benefits from
sponsorship from over 20 children's publishers, Red House Books and
central funding from Sure Start (England and Wales) and the
Scottish Executive (Scotland). Bookstart brings together over 4,000
libraries, 12,000 health visitors, over 14 publishers and many
government, health and library agencies to make sure that every
child in the UK develops a lifelong love of reading.
There are plenty of reasons why sharing books with your children
is a good thing, take a look at www.youbabybookmagic.org.uk/
for a few ideas or to share your thoughts with others.
Online learning resources
parents and carers to enjoy books with children
- Federation of Children's Book
national group. Be part of this dynamic team to bring books and
authors to your school.
Connects, a DfES-funded National Reading Campaign
initiative, seeks to support schools in building their own reading
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This page was last reviewed 8 November 2012 at 15:12.
The page is next due for review 7 May 2014.