Bookbug creates a buzz among young readers

2nd July 2010 at 01:00

A new early-years programme, which gives out free books to children up to P1 stage in a bid to foster a love of reading, was launched this week by the Scottish Book Trust.

Formerly known as Bookstart in Scotland and run by the charity Booktrust, the revamped programme sports a new mascot - Bookbug (pictured) - to match its new Scottish identity.

It also has greener credentials and has been developed to link in more closely with Scottish educational and parenting policies.

Scottish author and illustrator Debi Gliori helped create the new identity. Bookbug will now replace the Bookstart Bear as the face of the Scottish book-gifting programme.

The core programme will remain broadly the same, giving away 240,000 free packs of books for babies, toddlers, three-year-olds and P1 pupils plus free singing and rhyming "Bookbug" sessions. But changes include the introduction of specially-tailored packs which will feature more Scottish authors and illustrators, a new parents' guide to sharing books with children and more information on dyslexia, bilingualism and other potential barriers to reading. The programme will also offer stronger support to the Scottish publishing industry.

The independent literature charity Booktrust managed Bookstart from 1999- 2010 and will continue to administer the scheme in other parts of the UK. However, the Scottish Book Trust will now manage the early-years programme, which replaces Bookstart in Scotland.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of Scottish Book Trust, said: "It is a privilege for Scottish Book Trust to be able to devise and deliver a scheme of such social and educational importance, with the support of local authority library and educational services, as well as the NHS."

elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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