Welsh Government invests an additional £5 million to support more children in Wales to develop a love of reading

Published on: 18 November 2021

Children across Wales are set to benefit from a new multi million pound investment designed to inspire a new generation of children on their reading journeys.

Announced yesterday by Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, the new investment to be delivered in partnership with BookTrust Cymru is set to ‘ignite a passion for reading in children across Wales’.

BookTrust has a long and successful history of supporting children across Wales providing access to books, resources and support for children and families thanks to a network of partners across early years practitioners, schools and libraries.

The additional funding will enable BookTrust Cymru to deliver a wide range of new activities and programmes with its partners over the coming 12 months. This will include ensuring that books and reading support reach every reception aged child in the country and developing new targeted support aimed at the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and families who can benefit from the profound and transformative impact of a regular reading habit.

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said:

“Speaking, listening and reading skills play a fundamental part in our everyday lives. If we want to close the attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, then improving reading skills is vital.

“We must ignite a passion for reading in children at a young age so that families are inspired and supported to take steps to develop a reading habit that will bring children the skills they’ll need later in life.

“Reading is essential in making sure learners have every opportunity to access the full breadth of the new Curriculum for Wales, the aims of which are underpinned by improved literacy and oracy among younger learners. It can also affect children’s mental health, emotional wellbeing and social development too which are priorities for children in Wales after the pandemic.”

The Minister added: “I am delighted that we are able to demonstrate the life changing importance of books, reading and oracy by providing a book for every child and young person in Wales - as well as funding for more books in schools and families.”

Kate Cubbage, Director of Wales at BookTrust said:

“BookTrust is delighted to receive additional funding from Welsh Government enabling us to reach and support more of Wales’ most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families

“The pandemic has had an adverse effect on the mental health and wellbeing of children, increased child poverty rates and limited children’s ability to attend early years settings, schools and libraries at crucial stages in their development.

“We know that reading has the power to transform lives. From babies, those in their early years and all the way through to early teens, reading brings children profound and wide-ranging benefits that can have a lifelong impact, positively affecting their health, wellbeing, sleep and academic and social development.

“This additional investment from Welsh Government will allow us to make almost 100,000 additional books available for children and ensure that early years practitioners and families have the support they need to help children on their reading journeys.”

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