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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00772: Jackson Carlaw (Eastwood)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the impact of the funding that it provides to the Scottish Book Trust to help promote reading for pleasure from an early age.

Answered by: John Swinney 27 June 2016

The Scottish Book Trust delivers a range of initiatives which help to promote reading for pleasure. The main programmes funded by Scottish Government are Bookbug, Read, Write, Count and the First Minister's Reading Challenge.

The Bookbug programme provides bags of books and literacy materials from birth to primary 1. A report on Language Development and Enjoyment of Reading from the Growing Up in Scotland study concluded that parents who received and used the pack read or looked at books more frequently with their child than parents who did not receive or use Bookbug. The study (published in 2016) also concluded that the relationship between receipt of and use of the Bookbug pack and home learning activities did not appear to be confined to the most advantaged socio-economic groups.

The Growing Up in Scotland study can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/06/2715

The Bookbug for the home programme provides additional ‘outreach’ support to families in disadvantaged circumstances, training practitioners to take elements of the Bookbug approach into family homes. The most recent evaluation report on Bookbug for the home (April 2015) found evidence to show that it equips early years professionals to support parents to interact more with their children and to develop a relationship with books.

Though it is too early to draw conclusions on either First Minister's reading challenge or read, write, count, the grant arrangements for both programmes include a requirement on book trust to evaluate the impact of the programmes.

The Scottish Book Trust deliver a range of additional initiatives using funding from creative Scotland. This includes book week Scotland - Scotland's annual celebration of reading and writing. In 2015 book week Scotland delivered 761 events and activities across 32 local authority areas. 79% of schools reported having organised book week Scotland events in the school.