It’s never too early to get your child interested in books and reading. That’s why we love the Bookstart scheme which offers FREE books to every child in England. The books are offered at 2 key stages in a child’s development – as babies (0-12 months) and then as preschoolers (3-4 years old).

Bookstart is run by Booktrust, which is an independent charity. The scheme obtains funding from the Department of Education. It is also sponsored and supported by over 25 different children’s publishers.

It really is never too early to start enjoying books with your baby – by the time he or she reaches her first birthday, hopefully as parents, you’ll already be enjoying some reading time with your child.
Tiny babies enjoying the stimulating colours found in a picture book and love listening to the sound of your voice, particularly if you use a variety of tone or a sing-song voice. You can also use your hands to point to pictures in the book and use your face so that your baby can see you smiling or laughing at the funny illustrations. Animal sounds are also popular with children, so don’t be afraid of letting out some ‘woofs’ and ‘moos’ for baby to hear.

As your child grows older, he or she will already have learned that reading with mum and dad is an enjoyable pastime, so it really is important to get the foundation of reading started asap so that they reap the benefits later on.

Books and reading time can take place at any time of day and in any location.

To pick up your free Bookstart pack, you can first enquire with your health visitor, but failing that you should be able to pick a pack up at your local library. For the preschoolers Bookstart Treasure Chest, you’ll normally receive this through your child’s nursery or playgroup.
The Bookstart pack for babies includes 2 free board books and a ‘Babies Love Books’ guidance leaflet on how to make the most out of reading to your child.

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