Additional needs packs

As well as the universal Bookstart Baby and Bookstart Treasure packs, Bookstart also offers the following packs for children with additional needs:

  • Bookshine for children who are deaf
  • Booktouch for children with a visual impairment
  • Bookstart Star for children with conditions affecting their fine motor skills

Bookstart is for every child, and families are entitled to the universal Baby and Treasure packs alongside the gifting of additional needs packs. All the packs are free of change to parents and carers of children aged 0-5 years.

We allocate packs to each local authority based on birth rate and in consultation with the local authority regarding their needs. Please contact the Bookstart Coordinator in your local authority to receive packs for the families you work with, but please note that they may have a limited number of packs available.

Get tips and guidance on gifting additional needs packs

Bookshine for children who are deaf

  • There are two packs: Bookshine Baby (0-2 years old) and Bookshine Toddler (3-5 years old). The ages are a guideline – the professionals gifting the pack decide which pack is most suitable.
  • Each pack has two books, a rhyme place mat (with babies signing) and guidance around sharing books. The toddler pack also includes a bookmark showing British Sign Language.
  • Download our leaflet Bookshine: A guide to enjoying books and reading with deaf children

Bookshine baby pack 2017

Booktouch for children who are blind or partially sighted

Booktouch Toddler pack shot 2018

Bookstart Star for children with conditions affecting their fine motor skills

  • This pack is available for children aged 3-5 who have disabilities that impact on or delay the development of their fine motor skills. The ages are a guideline – the professionals gifting the pack decides which pack is most suitable.
  • Eack pack has two board books, puppets for playing along with the story and guidance sheets

Bookstart Star pack 2017

Benefits of gifting Bookstart Additional Needs packs

Evaluation of BookTrust’s additional needs support and resources, Robinson, D. et al, 2016

This piece of research, conducted by the University of Derby, explored how reading for pleasure is experienced by children and young people with additional needs, what the benefits are for these children, and what practices are most likely to have a positive impact on engagement with reading for pleasure. It also explored the role of BookTrust’s additional needs provision within this. Little research has been done in this area before, and the findings make a valuable contribution to our understanding.

The research found that:

  • The benefits of reading for pleasure are significant and often profound, offering opportunities for comfort, closeness and well-being. Books are important in the lives of children with additional needs, providing focus for shared attention, pleasure and enjoyment, as well as scaffolds for development (e.g. as a stimulus for movement and communication).
  • Personalised approaches are central to encouraging and supporting reading for pleasure for children with additional needs. The benefits are maximised when adults mediate the connection between child and book in ways that are highly individualised, so that communication, support and interaction are matched to the unique capabilities and preferences of the children and young people. In understanding needs, it’s important not to over or under generalise, i.e. it should not be assumed that children who have the same impairment will need the same types of support, or that children and young people with impairments may not share experiences and needs that are common to all children.
  • There are a wide range of inclusive strategies that are beneficial, including: using multi-modalities (e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and tactile); integrating playful activity using puppets and role play; enabling independence, responsibility and taking a lead; and making connections with everyday life and experiences through extra-textual talk
  • In short, a combination of accessible and flexible resources, responsive adults and personalised strategies are important for ensuring children with additional needs are able to fully experience the benefits of reading for pleasure.
  • The BookTrust resources were highly valued by families and practitioners and contributed to delivering the positive outcomes identified above. Inclusive and diverse practices were found to be ‘already embedded in the resources, guidance and approach adopted by BookTrust’, and the combination of universal and targeted provision was considered positively.

 Please note that books contained within the packs may differ from those pictured.


Looking for information on disability and children's books? Bookmark is full of advice and book recommendations for families, teachers, librarians, authors and publishers. 

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More about Bookstart packs and gifting

Bookstart Baby pack

All families with babies aged 0-12 months are eligible to receive a free Bookstart Baby pack. These are usually gifted by health visitors.

Bookstart Treasure pack

The Bookstart Treasure envelope is gifted to all children when they are 3-4 years old by their nursery, children's centre or other early years setting.

Bookstart Corner

Bookstart Corner is BookTrust's free, targeted programme helping settings to offer support for families so that they can read with their children with confidence.