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Minister launches latest DCSF book-gifting projects

Minister with boys and booksSurrounded by toddlers and their parents as well as children from Yeading Junior School, Hayes, the Schools Minister Jim Knight recently launched two new projects, each worth £4.5milion.

Speaking at the Ideas Store in Whitechapel on 19th June the Minister officially launched Book Ahead for early years and Boys into Books 5 - 11 for primary schools. Unlike the Boys into Books 11 - 14 project last year where the books went straight to schools to become part of their library stock, these two projects are being handled by local authority library services and are being rolled out around England over the next few months. They will circulate the books among early years settings and primary schools and provide other support and activities to encourage involvement.

Both of these projects, like last year's Boys into Books, are based on Riveting Reads booklists specially commissioned from the School Library Association (SLA), Book Ahead written by Julia Eccleshare from CLPE and Boys into Books 5 - 11 by Chris Brown, Review Editor of The School Librarian and former Chair of the SLA.

At the launch Jim Knight said: ‘There is clear evidence that early exposure to books has a crucial effect on early learning. The number of words a child hears by the age of four correlates closely with later attainment at school.

‘To celebrate the National Year of Reading, Dads should set themselves a summer challenge, to read at least one book from the list with their sons during the school holidays. Books from our book lists also make great presents for relatives not sure what to buy children for birthdays.'

The Minister then spent some time discussing reading choices with junior school boys.

Minister and author discuss listChris Brown, author of Boys into Books 5 - 11 noted ‘The titles in the list have been chosen as books published within the last couple of years which are good reads and which have particular elements of appeal for boys in the 5 to 11 age range.

'Generally boys tend to choose books with action that seldom flags, humour in large dollops and with characters slightly larger than life. Currently extremely popular are fantasy tales of every shade, fast paced stories of youngsters embroiled in spying scenarios and all sorts of buccaneering piracy. High profile TV and cinema features have a great influence but like all readers boys' individual preferences can also be wide and varied and so the list offers a broad and balanced selection too including information books, poetry, graphic styles and long and involving stories.'

The booklists are freely available to all on the SLA website:
Boys into Books 11 - 14
Boys into Books 5 - 11
Book Ahead

Press release

Daily Telegraph article

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