Bookstart for registrars

Within some local authorities, Bookstart Baby is gifted by registrars during the birth registration. This page provides tips, guidance and key messaging for those professionals delivering Bookstart to new babies and their families.

All births within England must be registered within 42 days and all babies born should attend a local register office. Registrars are therefore well placed to gift the Bookstart Baby packs.

Bookstart is an evidence-based universal programme recognised as helping professionals achieve the best outcomes for a child’s development.

Crawling baby with book

Incorporating Bookstart into birth registration

Benefits of registrars gifting Bookstart Baby

  • Gifting Bookstart Baby packs is a fantastic opportunity for practitioners to develop a partnership with BookTrust and library services
  • It's also a great opportunity to encourage parents and carers to introduce stories, books and rhymes to their child from a very young age, with all the benefits that this can bring
  • Gifts are memorable - it is nice to give something special and it is of no cost to families

Find out more about the Bookstart Baby pack

Tips for gifting during registration

  • Gift the pack at the end of each birth registration, making sure to include key messages (see below) and encourage families to read to their child from birth. Building the gifting into your registration can wrap up the process nicely 
  • Make sure you plan ahead. Consideration should be given to how much time you have during the registration process, so it's best to go over the pack in advance to prepare yourself
  • Remove the contents of the pack and show the books and resources to the family, incorporating the key messages as you describe them
  • Involve the whole the family during gifting, especially if there are any other children attending the registration
  • At the end of the registration, place the A4 folder containing the birth certificate into the purple Bookstart pack. This way, mums, dads and carers will open the pack when the get home and see what’s inside as they retrieve their child’s birth certificate

Key points to remember when gifting 

  • Think in advance about when you will be gifting, what you have time to say and how to get the key messages across
  • Consider the needs of both the child and family
  • Does the family have English as an additional language? Would they benefit from a dual language book?
  • Consider if any of the babies you are gifting to would also benefit from additional needs packs
  • Always consider the needs of mums, dads and carers. Do not assume they are completely comfortable with books. Where possible, take as much time as you can explaining the importance of reading with very young children and refer to other services that may benefit families
  • Signpost other services, e.g. local library services or Rhymetimes sessions. If possible, have some information to hand about what local services have to offer

Key messages for mums, dads and carers

  • You are your child’s first and most important teacher. Stories, books and rhymes are an essential part of your child’s development, so it’s important to include them in your everyday routine
  • It is good to start sharing stories, books and rhymes with your child from as early an age as possible. Babies don’t need to understand all the words. They will just love to listen to your voice and receive lots of eye contact and smiles
  • Reading books, talking about the pictures and cuddling up close together will help you build a strong and loving relationship with your child. Everyone in the family can join in - dads, mums, care givers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles
  • Your child will love lots of different kinds of books and will enjoy choosing books for themselves, so it is good to join the library. Libraries welcome all ages, it is free to borrow books and most do not charge fines for late children’s books
  • As your child begins to see themselves as a reader, they will develop skills which can support their development towards reading themselves
  • Having a baby is tiring and very demanding. Taking time out every day to enjoy a story, book or rhyme can give you and your child time to escape the everyday, enjoy each other’s company and get to know each other better.

Gifting at a glance - a checklist

  • Keep the gifting fun
  • Share the book
  • Share key messaging with mums, dads and carers 
  • Ensure parents and carers understand the full benefits of book sharing and why it is important
  • Signpost other services that could support families

More to explore...

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.

Search our booklists

Find great books for your next project

Looking for brilliant titles to use in your early years setting? From dyslexia-friendly picture books to funny stories that guarantee giggles, we've got hundreds of themed booklists just waiting to be explored.