Page last updated at 03:09 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Secondary schools in England given 53,000 free books

Book shelf
The scheme is being run with the School Library Association

More than 53,000 free books are to be sent to England's secondary schools in an attempt to get more pupils reading.

Each secondary school in England will receive 15 books from a list of 260 that includes traditional and modern classics, as well as fact-based titles.

Schools where more than 30% of children are on free school meals will be able to choose 25 books.

Ministers say they hope the £500,000 scheme, called Everyone's Reading, will open up "new worlds" for young people.

Among the 260 different titles on offer are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Bill Bryson's A Short History Of Nearly Everything and sports books.

Schools pick the titles from a list divided into themes, including "laugh", "explore", "imagine", "boggle" and "fear".


The list was drawn up by Eileen Armstrong, school librarian at Cramlington Learning Village.

The scheme is jointly run by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the School Library Association.

Ms Armstrong said: "The themed list offers something to engage and enthuse everyone regardless of background, attitude or previous reading experience - books to appeal to the girls as well as the boys, books to catch the attention of non-readers, books to hook in the resistant and to inspire confidence in the struggling, books to satisfy the hard to please and to stretch voracious readers.

"There are authors here which will keep young people reading right through into adulthood."

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said: "There's nothing better then getting lost in a good book and reading can open up new worlds for young people.

"It's a great way to pass the time on the bus into school or whilst waiting to meet friends and it also helps improve your reading skills. There really is no better way to start the new year."

The Chief executive of the School Library Association, Tricia Adams, said: "Reading gives children different perspectives on life and is empowering because through it they can learn new things and develop their reading and personal skills like decision making".

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