Press release: Almost half a million books gifted to Primary 1 to 3 pupils during Book Week Scotland

Published November 2019

Now in its eighth year, Book Week Scotland is run by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing. Primary 1 pupils from Simpson Primary School joined Bookbug at Spring Distribution centre, to mark nearly half a million books being gifted to schools in Scotland as part of Book Week Scotland.

Almost two thirds of Scots agree that reading helps improve family bonding, with this increasing to over 70% for those who were regularly read to as a child themselves . Incorporating reading into childhood has a huge impact on educational attainment as well as wellbeing, confidence and mental health, and accomplishment in later life.

Scottish Book Trust is delighted to be working in partnership with Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Creative Scotland to devise and deliver this year’s bags. In total, 459,950 free books will be gifted. 63,500 bags will be gifted to Primary 1 pupils across Scotland, plus 750 Gaelic bags, all containing three books each.

The books included in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag are shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize, which celebrates the very best of Scottish authors and illustrators. The titles are: The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears by Alastair Chisholm, illustrated by Jez Tuya (Walker Books); Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood, illustrated by Ella Okstad (Simon & Schuster) and The Station Mouse by Meg McLaren (Penguin).

New books, writing materials and counting games will also be included in this year’s Read, Write, Count bags, gifted to all Primary 2 and Primary 3 pupils in Scotland. More than 133,500 bags of books will be distributed during Book Week Scotland, as family learning alongside school learning is hugely beneficial for children in the crucial early years of primary school. This year’s bags will contain books such as The King Cat by Marta Altés and "You're Called What?!" by Kes Gray and Nikki Dyson, along with storytelling cards and dice, number games and a guide for parents to help them incorporate easy and fun reading, writing and counting activities into their family’s day to day lives.

Every child is also encouraged to take part in The Bookbug Picture Book Prize, sponsored by Browns Books for Students, by voting on Scottish Book Trust’s website. The winning book will be announced in an exclusive video to all registered groups on 29 January 2020.

An activity book and colouring pencils with fun ideas to enjoy reading, writing and counting together will also be included in the Primary 1 Bookbug Family Bag, as well as a white board with a pen and set of magnetic numbers.

Gaelic Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bags are also available for P1 children in Gaelic Medium Education. The Gaelic P1 Family Bag includes Gaelic editions of the three books shortlisted for The Bookbug Picture Book Prize and a dual-language Gaelic/English Activity Booklet developed with support from the Gaelic Books Council. There are also Gaelic Read Write Count bags for P2 and P3 pupils in Gaelic Medium Education.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“The books included in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bags are the shortlisted titles of our Bookbug Picture Book Prize, handpicked by young readers. Book Week Scotland is the perfect time to develop a love of reading with your child: sharing a story together is one of the most powerful ways to bond. There are also many Bookbug events taking place during Book Week Scotland, and we hope families will be able to attend a session, even if it's their first time.”

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said:

“I am delighted to see that as part of Book Week Scotland this year nearly half a million books will be gifted to children in primaries 1-3. We know that parental engagement has a significant impact on children’s academic achievement and I hope our gift bags will spark a lifelong love and appreciation of books and numbers for those receiving them. The books and counting games within our bags are a vital resource for some of our most vulnerable learners. This intervention in the early years is crucial in helping to close the attainment gap in both literacy and numeracy between young people from different backgrounds.”

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland:

"Developing the reading habit as children sets us up for a lifelong relationship with books that can boost almost every aspect of our wellbeing. The Bookbug bags will help to inspire families across Scotland to experience the joy of reading and promote family bonding. We’re enormously proud to support Scottish Book Trust in bringing this fundamental resource, and these wonderful experiences, to every P1-3 pupil in Scotland."

Notes to Editors

For more information, quotes, or images, please contact Keara Donnachie on keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 0131 524 0184.