Ballymena newborns to get a start on books

Families of babies born in Ballymena in 2021 are set to benefit from a programme to encourage a love of reading in children from a young age.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 7:01 am

The Bookstart Baby programme, run by the UK’s largest children’s reading charity BookTrust, will provide book packs to families with babies born in 2021 to support their early learning and development and encourage a positive home learning environment. Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “I’m pleased to support the Bookstart Baby programme in Northern Ireland this year, which will ensure parents are encouraged to read with their babies and young children

“Bookstart Baby packs aim to promote a love of reading in children from as young an age as possible. Reading to a child has enormous benefits from helping to build confidence, and develop empathy, creativity, communication and social skills, and is also a huge pleasure in itself.

“Around 24,000 babies born in 2020 were gifted a Bookstart Baby pack.

Education Minister Michelle McIlveen confirms funding for Bookstart Baby programme Picture: Michael Cooper

“This is an essential programme for families in the local community as it reminds parents of the importance of looking at books and reading together. Shared reading with young children supports language development, confidence, communication skills and resilience.”

The Department of Education will contribute £75,000 towards the delivery of BookTrust’s Bookstart Baby programme in Northern Ireland in 2021/22.

It is expected that book packs will be delivered to another 24,000 families with babies born this year. The book packs will be distributed to families through their Health Visitor.