Bookstart Star Launched for Children with Additional Needs


Booktrust celebrated yesterday with the launch of a new book pack to be gifted to children with additional needs.  The Bookstart Star pack is aimed at children that have disabilities that impact on or delay the development of their fine motor skills and includes books and resources to help families enjoy reading together every day. Inside the pack is an exclusive book from Child’s Play publishers, Off to the Park!, which includes an array of tactile features such as a big red squashy ball, a glittering path and even an ice cream scented page. Also included is Mouse Is Small, a board book from Mary Murphy and children’s publisher Walker and animal finger puppets to play along to the story with. Completing the pack are resources to help parents and carers enjoy reading with their children.

The pack was launched yesterday with an event at Free Word for the publishers, partners and for the first families to receive the pack. Head of Booktrust Early Years Sector Justine Hodgkinson said:

“We are delighted to add the Bookstart Star pack to the Bookstart Programme, and hope it will inspire a love of books and reading for the children and families who receive it. There is so much enjoyment to be had from engaging with the stories included, from the exciting tactile pages of Off to the Park! to the finger puppets which encourage families to bring Mouse is Small to life. Reading has a huge impact on a child’s development and the pleasure of sharing a story should be accessible for every child. We hope the Bookstart Star Pack will help us to reach even more families across the country.”

Bookstar Launch

Bookstar Launch

The new pack will complement the universal packs which are gifted to young children at key stages of their development, and will join the Bookshine packs, specially designed for deaf children and Booktouch packs for blind children. Bookstart works with partners in libraries, health and early years to distribute packs to all families and help to instil a lifelong love of reading. Over 35 million books have been gifted through the programme since 1992 and the programme has been adopted by 22 other countries. The bookgifting programmes are also enhanced by local rhymetime sessions and the Bookstart Bear Club, as well as targeted support for families via the Bookstart Corner programme.

Bookstart is run by Booktrust, an independent national charity that encourages people of all ages and cultures to engage with books.

Bookstart offers the gift of free books to all children at key ages before they start school, to inspire a love of reading that will give children a flying start in life. Bookstart works through a unique public/private partnership; generous publisher support, central funding from the Department for Education in England, the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Welsh Government. Working through local authorities and health partners, the free Bookstart packs help every child to develop early literacy and communication skills and become confident and enthusiastic learners who are familiar with books, stories and rhymes because they enjoy them as part of their everyday routine. Bookstart also aims to foster a love of books, stories and rhymes through a range of fun activities such as the Bookstart Bear Club and story and rhymetimes in community spaces. Parents and carers wishing to receive a pack should speak to their health visitor or early years professional.

image001Booktrust is a reading charity that makes a nationwide impact on individuals, families and communities, and culture in the UK. Booktrust makes a significant positive contribution to the educational outcomes of children from the earliest age. We work to empower people of all ages and abilities by giving them confidence and choices about reading. We want individuals of all backgrounds to benefit from the wellbeing that a rich and positive engagement in reading can bring.

Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. These include the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Children’s Laureate, and Bookstart, the national programme that works through locally based organisations to give a free pack of books to babies and toddlers, with guidance materials for parents and carers.

Posted by Tracy Thomas


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