Benefits of Bookstart for early years settings

Whether you are part of a nursery, children's centre or pre-school, there are a number of ways Bookstart can support your work with children and families across a range of objectives. 

Supporting the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The EYFS places a strong emphasis on the three prime areas which are deemed most essential for a child’s healthy development:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

Alongside the EYFS early learning goals is a focus on strengthening partnerships between professionals and parents and carers, and the use of clear language between the setting and a child’s home. Gifting Bookstart packs will directly complement EYFS practice, support every child’s early learning and development, and encourage parents and carers to take an active role. Gifting Bookstart packs also demonstrates to OFSTED that you work in partnership with parents and carers.

Hebden Bridge library

Bookstart added value activities

Many people recognise the pleasure that sharing stories, books and rhymes brings for children and families. However, for others this is something that they have not experienced in their own childhood and would find it difficult to start with their own child. Here are a few examples of how engaging with Bookstart will directly completement your EYFS practice and contribute towards positive outcomes for children in your setting.

Sharing stories, books and rhymes promotes strong and loving relationships and secure attachment.

  • One of the key outcomes of the Bookstart programme is that it increases the quality time that children and parents/carers spend together. This was established in a Social Return on Investment study (Just Economics, 2010) carried out for the programme.

Encouraging parents and carers to share stories, books, and rhymes can radically improve a child’s language and communication skills.

  • A poll in 2004 by I CAN, which helps children with speech and language difficulties, showed that 96 per cent of nursery staff had at least one child with communication difficulties in their care. Of those, 92 per cent blamed the lack of conversation between adults and children. Sharing books and rhymes encourages families to incorporate speech and language into their daily life. (I CAN, 2004. Nursery workers poll says ‘Turn off the TV’).

Dad and girl reading and laughing

Sharing books, stories and rhymes develops skills to support the transition to school.

  • To be ready for school, children need to have a good vocabulary, understand how books work and have the curiosity, imagination and eagerness to learn about the world around them. Sharing rhymes, books and stories every day helps develop these skills, making the transition to school more successful.

Encouraging parents and carers to start sharing books, stories and rhymes with their child is the first step towards breaking intergenerational cycles of low achievement and poverty.

  • One of the guiding principles of the Bookstart programme and associated activities is to increase the confidence of every parent and carer and get them actively involved in their child’s learning. All guidance material produced recognises the role of parents and carers as a child’s first and most enduring educator.

Supporting family access to other services.

  • Participating in Bookstart-related activities provides an opportunity to talk to parents and carers about appropriate services available within a local children’s centre or library. This will encourage them to borrow books and take part in early years activities. As a result of this families will be more engaged in their community and at less risk of social isolation.

Bookstart packs can benefit the children in your setting by:

  • Promoting strong familial relationships
  • Supporting development of confidence and self esteem
  • Aiding cognitive development
  • Supporting the development of communication and language skills
  • Aiding socio-emotional development, good mental health and well-being
  • Helping to lay foundations of good literacy skills and prepare the way for school
  • Supporting the development of fine motor, listening and concentration skills

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Bookstart packs

Free books for every child

BookTrust offers a range of packs that you can gift to families as part of the Bookstart programme. Find out how our universal, additional needs and targeted packs can help get your families sharing books together every day.

Colouring sheets to download and print

Bookstart additional offers

Get more from Bookstart

Explore our additional early years offers, including the Rhyme Challenge, Newborn Black and White packs, and dual language books.