BookTrust to support 740,000 new primary school children to make Time to Read

Published on: 10 October 2021

BookTrust will give 740,000 children in England and Northern Ireland a free book pack to encourage them to make Time to Read.

The front cover of I Am a Tiger by Karl Newson and Ross Collins

BookTrust will support 740,000 children to make Time to Read by giving them a free book pack.

Every reception child in England and every primary one student in Northern Ireland will receive a copy of the picture book I Am A Tiger by Karl Newson and Ross Collins, published by Pan Macmillan, to encourage them and their families to keep reading together.

I Am A Tiger is a perfect book for reading aloud and sharing, with a really funny story about a mouse that also subtly raises the idea of labels and how they are applied.

Through BookTrust's partnerships with local authorities, the Time to Read packs - which also include top tips and creative ideas for parents and carers as well as support for teachers - will be sent to schools from November.

For children aged 4-5, starting school means establishing new routines, and often homework and learning to read can be prioritised over time spent reading for pleasure as a family.

Time to Read is designed to encourage families to relax and continue to have fun sharing books at this critical transition point. The packs also aim to spark children's imaginations, help to improve their language and listening skills, and support them to develop skills such as making new friends and dealing with change.

Inspiring families to read together

'The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for everyone and especially for families with young children,' said BookTrust's Chief Executive Diana Gerald.

'Starting school can be a challenging experience for children at the best of times, yet this year's intake will have missed out on so many of the early education and social development opportunities that can prepare children for this big step in their life.

'With families facing multiple pressures at this time, reading together can be overlooked, especially as children start to learn to read independently in school. We hope sharing the fantastic book I Am A Tiger inspires families to read together, offering them a chance to connect, spend quality time together and relax.'

Meanwhile, Karl Newson said he is 'squeaking with delight' that I Am A Tiger has been chosen as this year's Time to Read book.

'This little mouse has taken me on some wild adventures and to know that the book will be shared by so many families in so many places is a fantabulous honour,' he added. 'I hope it is something that everyone will enjoy and that it will make some magical times for everyone, too.

'I used to read to my children every night, and it was something I really looked forward to: a coming together to share in something just for us, be it with giggles or by sharing hearts, it was always wonderful and magical.

'My children are now almost as old as I am, but I still show them every new story I write. It's all for them in the end, them and those magic times we get together.'

Ross Collins added that it is a 'real honour' that I Am A Tiger has been chosen, saying: 'To know that our book will be gifted to thousands of children who have limited access to books is a great gift for me too. I hope our silly mouse puts a smile on lots of small faces.

'We've read to our son every night since he was born – he's six now. It's not always easy being either a parent or a small boy but having that quiet time at the end of each day with a story to bring you together is really important for us.

'Books have brought us closer, sparked his imagination, begun conversations and given him the vocabulary of a 30-year-old.'

Find out more about Time to Read

Download the full press release

Topics: Time to Read, News

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