BookTrust will deliver 700,000 free books to every school starter as part of the annual Time to Read campaign this week.
The children's reading charity has chosen Rob Hodgson's The Cave (Frances Lincoln Books) for this year's campaign which will see BookTrust give away 700,000 free copies of the book to every reception age child. The book will be delivered inside a special Time to Read pack, with information about the importance of shared reading, alongside practical tips and advice to help them bring the story to life at home. In each delivery for the schools there is also a copy of Cressida Cowell’s Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate Charter.
BookTrust c.e.o. Diana Gerald said: “Sharing a book is about so much more than simply reading a story together. It creates a wonderful closeness, and it’s also an opportunity to talk about the themes in the book, whether that’s separation anxiety, making friends, losing someone important or simply learning to be brave.
"It’s so easy to stop the bedtime story or other shared reading once children can read for themselves, but that magical ten minutes doesn’t just help engage children in stories and reading; it also relaxes them, helps them understand the world around them, and often stimulates important conversations about what’s going on in their lives. Our research shows that children love to be read with, and we hope that The Cave will prove hugely popular with families across the country.”
BookTrust research of 3,003 parents and children, backed by psychologist Emma Kenny and children's mental health charity Place2Be, found 31% of children aged 8-11 said their favourite thing about being read to is spending time with their parent/carer while 9 in 10 of parents aged 4-11 do agree that reading together is a useful tool to help open up conversations with their child, however almost 70% stopped reading to their children by the time they started at Key Stage Two.
Kenny said: “Reading is a great activity to help you bond with your child and talk about their day. It also helps to create good routines, which make children feel safer and more confident. Add to that the way books can let children explore challenging themes and situations in a safe way, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for building resilience and ensuring that children feel able to talk about the things that are worrying and upsetting them."