Free books for schools

Millions of free books are to be given to schools as part of a massive new project to support the National Year of Reading.

Schools can choose more than 150 titles from the Free Books for Schools project, launched today by News International, publishers of The TES, and Walkers Snack Foods.

The Free Books for Schools campaign, the largest-ever scheme of its kind, will provide millions of picture books, novels and reference books for primary and secondary schools.

From January each copy of The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World and every packet of Walkers crisps and snacks will carry a token which parents and pupils can collect to give to their school.

Participating schools can select free books from a list of more than 150. A special supplement published with today's TES includes a registration form for schools to sign up for the scheme and a list of available books.

More than one billion Free Books for Schools tokens will be available until April. Participation is free and books are available for 100 tokens or more.

David Blunkett, Education and Employment Secretary, said: "I welcome this innovative and significant project. The National Year of Reading is designed to support the work of teachers in schools by involving the whole community in our drive to raise standards of literacy.

"The WalkersNews International Free Books for Schools scheme is an excellent example of how business can get involved on a national scale. We are committed to raising standards of literacy and we are asking the nation to join this campaign."

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "This promotion is the biggest of its type ever and will make a massive contribution to the number of new books for schools in the new academic year - without hitting overstretched budgets. With the right help from parents, millions of much-needed free books will be enjoyed by pupils."

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