Bookstart Baby pack

All families with a baby aged 0-12 months are eligible to receive a free Bookstart Baby pack and Bookstart Baby reaches over 650,000 families in England and Wales every year.

Packs are usually gifted by health visitors, however, depending on the local authority, they may be gifted by other professionals such as registrars, children’s centres and community nursery nurses who work closely with families during this period. 

The content varies, but will include two board books, a rhyme sheet and a booklet of tips and ideas for sharing books.

Download the new Bookstart Baby gifting guidance

Baby Bag April 2020

Benefits of gifting the Baby pack

Bookstart Baby starts children on their reading journey as early as possible, by supporting babies and families to experience the joy of reading and its associated benefits.

Gifting the packs supports all babies and families, having a more pronounced impact on families who are not already book-sharing.

Gifting Bookstart Baby through your setting can contribute by:

Encouraging families to share books early and often, by raising awareness that babies love books
  • 63% of Bookstart Baby practitioners said the programme encouraged all or most parents or carers to share books with children at an earlier age, and 55% said it promoted shared reading with babies (aged 0-12 months) as part of a daily routine for all or most parents/carers
Increasing the knowledge, skills and confidence of parents in book-sharing activities
  • 49% of Bookstart Baby practitioners said the programme increased all or most parents’ confidence to share books with their baby and 44% said it positively changed the way all or most parents shared books with their child

Baby with book at libray

Bringing children and families together around books and stories – supporting bonding and social interaction
  • 61% of Bookstart Baby practitioners said the programme provides opportunities for parent - baby bonding for all or most parents/carers.
  • 'I have seen communication skills improve and social wellbeing improve when children learn and interact with familiar rhymes and stories. This is also a good way to encourage a healthy bond with child and carer.' (Community nursery nurse, Bookstart Baby, Sandwell)
Engaging families with local libraries where they build a sense of community and are supported to continue their reading journey
  • 50% of Bookstart families who were not already members of the library, joined after receiving their book pack
  • ‘All parents want the best for their child and Bookstart helps support that. I have seen parents living in hostel accommodation and therefore facing a daily struggle to parent their child, accessing the library as a result of Bookstart.' (Health Visitor and Bookstart gifter)
Relationship building between practitioners and families, opening up conversations around books and development
  • 71% of practitioners agreed that Bookstart Baby had enabled conversations with parents about their child’s development, and 67% agreed that it had helped the practitioner to understand the importance of shared reading for a child’s development
  • 'Having a high-quality learning resource to give to parents is a powerful way to make a connection, particularly it seems with ESOL families who are sometimes wary of approaches from strangers.' (Bookstart Coordinator, Bookstart Baby, Torbay)
Improving the language and literacy skills of young children

Findings from a seminal longitudinal study indicated that children who had received the Bookstart pack as a baby:

  • Were better prepared for school as a result of their early childhood experiences, and this was demonstrated by significantly higher scores in reading and numbers (Wade and Moore 1998)
  • Maintained this advantage throughout their primary education to the end of KS1, shown by significantly higher scores in SATs in English (and some maths), and particularly in reading (Wade and Moore 2000)
Partnership working across the early years sector
  • 60% of practitioners agreed that the programme had improved collaborative working
  • 'It has been very useful as a tool to initiate first contact with other services who would not otherwise see libraries [who I work for] as a partner which shares their views e.g. Homestart, Children and Young People's services, and Health. We were speaking to our Health partners thanks to the Baby pack many years before Books on Prescription and Health and Wellbeing were thought of.' (Bookstart Coordinator, Bookstart Baby, Derby)

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

More about Bookstart packs and gifting

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.

Additional needs packs

Bookstart is for every child, so families or carers of children age 0-5 are entitled to our additional needs packs alongside the two standard Bookstart packs.