Welsh Government announces £5m investment in reading engagement and book-gifting for children and young people across Wales

The Books Council of Wales warmly welcomes the announcement of the significant additional funding from Welsh Government which will deliver the #SchoolsLoveReading book-gifting campaign starting in spring 2022. As part of this multi-million-pound investment in reading engagement, a selection of 50 books will be sent to every state school in Wales, in addition to an individual book for every pupil to keep. The programme will mean that learners across Wales have equal access to a diverse range of appealing and quality literature, in Welsh and English, that has been specially selected for children and young people.

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “This significant investment by Welsh Government underlines the importance of reading engagement in childhood, and we know that a habit of reading is one of the greatest determining factors in terms of educational attainment. We are delighted to support Welsh Government’s book-gifting campaigns as they make such a difference to schools and pupils across Wales, and this additional funding means that we can deliver more books to more pupils and spark a love of reading that they will benefit from for life.

Our newly published 5-year strategy sets out the Books Council’s vision for Wales as a Reading Nation and underlines our own commitment to increasing reading engagement and to expanding universal book-gifting programmes. I’m delighted that Welsh Government have recognised the importance of this area of work and we’re looking forward to working in partnership with them to support this exciting and ambitious programme.”

In his announcement of the extra funding, 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 we can give them the habits and 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.”

The Minister added: “I am delighted that I am 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.”