Igniting a love of reading: a book for each pupil to keep as the Schools Love Reading programme is launched

All pupils aged 3–16 in state schools in Wales will be receiving a book of their own to keep as the Books Council of Wales and the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, launch the Schools Love Reading programme today, Thursday, 26 May.

Pupils from Ysgol Hamadryad in Butetown, Cardiff were amongst the first to receive their new books. Around 70 pupils celebrated the occasion with author and illustrator Huw Aaron in a special workshop to discover how much fun reading can be … and that in books anything is possible. Ysgol Hamadryad was one of the schools across Wales that contributed to the book selection consultation during the development of the campaign.

The visit took place as the Books Council of Wales launch their Schools Love Reading campaign to celebrate reading and the benefits it brings to readers of all ages and abilities, with the free books starting to arrive in schools.

Welsh celebrities such as presenter and writer Mel Owen and blogger Charlotte Harding (@Welsh Mummy Blogs) shared their own experiences of escaping into the world of books, and the important role books play in their own lives and families. Alongside artist Mace the Great and TikTok creator Ellis Lloyd Jones, they are supporting the campaign by sharing their love of reading in a short film created for the Schools Love Reading programme.

Mel Owen said: “Reading can help with your creativity and your confidence because it opens your mind to experiences that aren’t just your own. Whether we read for relaxation or read for inspiration, having access to books and stories expands all our horizons.”

Charlotte said: “For children, having access to books and stories makes such a difference to their wellbeing and helps to grow their imaginations. My son found comfort in books throughout lockdown. There’s nothing better than holding a real book in your hands, and there are so many books available out there – there’s one for everyone.”

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “It’s wonderful to be at Ysgol Hamadryad today to see the books arrive as part of the Schools Love Reading programme, and for the children to be able to choose their books. I’d like to thank everyone involved in delivering this ambitious project which is the result of a huge joint effort and collaboration between publishers, schools, booksellers, Welsh Government and the Books Council. I’m looking forward to seeing more books being delivered to more children over the coming months.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “The Schools Love Reading programme is all about igniting a lifelong love of reading and helping everyone find the right book for them. Developing a habit of reading has lasting benefits and having access to books is so important for children and young people. That’s why the final stage of the programme later this year will be delivering a selection of around 50 free books for school libraries so that pupils can continue their reading journey.”

You can watch the Schools Love Reading films, get reading inspiration and follow the campaign on the Books Council website books.wales