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Saturday, 10 August, 2002, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Book drive targets children
Child with book
The scheme aims to increase reading at home
Parents are being encouraged to take the time to read to their children as part of a new drive to educate Scotland's youngsters in their leisure time.

A national co-ordinator will be appointed to oversee the scheme, which ministers hope will raise literacy outside the classroom.

The Scottish Executive scheme also promises to use "an army of celebrity reading champions" to ensure success.

The home reading initiative was formally launched by the Education Minister, Cathie Jamieson, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Saturday evening.

Cathie Jamieson
Cathie Jamieson: "The first step"
She said: "Reading is an essential skill that enables young people to access education and employment as well as being a source of pleasure and entertainment.

"The reading children do out of school is invaluable in helping them develop their literacy skills.

"The Home Reading Initiative specifically aims to support this very important element of home reading."

Ms Jamieson said the scheme would trigger several developments over the next 12 months.

The book festival has been chosen as the venue to unveil a leaflet for parents which give guidance on the benefits of home reading and tips to make it more interesting for children.

National grants scheme

An advertising campaign will follow in November to raise the profile of home reading.

"Reading champions" will also be appointed to encourage parents, carers and children to develop their skills.

A website which gives ideas on how to develop local projects will follow next year and this will be supported by a national grants scheme of 300,000.

Bookshop
Parents are being urged to read to children
It is envisaged that small sums will be made available from April next year to support small local projects such as book sharing clubs.

Ms Jamieson said that a home reading co-ordinator would be appointed towards the end of the year.

"The leaflet is the first step to engaging with parents and children and highlighting the positive experiences that reading can bring," she said.

"The home reading co-ordinator will look for innovative ways to capture the imagination of children and parents alike.

"We also want to create a list of reading champions - people who are interested in helping raise literacy levels among our young people."

The minister said the reading champions would try to stimulate interest in home reading rather than becoming experts.

She added: "Fred Macaulay, Kirsty Wark and the Singing Kettle's, Gary Coupland, are just a few of the people who have already signed up to support the initiative."

See also:

17 Aug 99 | Scotland
19 Dec 99 | Education
25 Feb 99 | Education
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