A reading initiative that seeks to improve literacy among young people in care and instil in them a love of stories has been backed by the children's charity NCH Scotland and the Scottish Executive.
Reading Rich, which wants to inspire and encourage care staff to promote reading for fun to those they care for, is a collaboration between the Scottish Book Trust and NCH and will involve more than 50 children in three Scottish regions during its first phase.
Working to a three-year plan, the project will organise a broad range of arts-based activities designed to encourage children to seek out stories for themselves, share stories with others and read stories for their own pleasure.
In its first year, the project's focus will be on developing a rich reading environment for children between the ages of three and 16 in residential and foster care homes in Central Scotland, Moray and the Western Isles.
The initiative follows a report from Audit Scotland earlier this year, which showed that 60 per cent of 16-17s in care had no passes in English or maths at Standard grade. This compares with an overall Scottish failure rate of only 7 per cent in those subjects.
The Executive will provide pound;90,000 for the three-year term, as well as funding a full evaluation of the initiative which will shape any future changes in policy and the allocation of resources.