Minister announces funding for Year of Reading in Wales

22 Nov 2007

Education Minister Jane Hutt has today announced funding of £350,000 over the next two financial years as part of a new push to promote the benefits of reading to children in Wales.

The Minister said, 'Reading is a vital skill that provides the foundation for learning throughout life. It is essential that we have effective approaches for the teaching of reading and take every opportunity to introduce children both to the pleasure of reading and the learning to be derived from books.

'Many of us are thinking about buying Christmas presents for loved ones at this time of year, and books are the ideal gift for children and young people. There’s an exciting array of children’s literature that really sparks the imagination, and books for our youngest children, with different colours, textures and sounds, help develop skills early on.

'The Welsh Books Council has been asked to work with partners across Wales to manage and co-ordinate a programme of activities throughout 2008, as part of the Year of Reading. They will target children and young people from the early years through to Key Stage 3 (14 years of age) and their parents – with a particular focus on fathers and will give specific attention to the promotion of reading to boys.  The Welsh Books Council will receive £250,000 in 2007–08 and £100,000 in 2008–09 to deliver the programme.

Jane Hutt continued, 'The Council orchestrated the previous and very successful Year of Reading held in Wales in 1998 and once again the programme will look to bring together local authorities, libraries, schools, early year settings, colleges, publishers, bookshops, communities and families.

'I have asked the Council to put a steering group in place as a focus for work with partners to develop detailed plans and to work towards a formal launch early in the spring – possibly in parallel with the celebration of World Book Day. The approach taken will also build on our unique strategy for the promotion of basic skills in Wales, including the Read a Million Words initiative and Quick Reads.

'I would encourage all those with an interest and a role to play in the promotion of reading to join with the Council in delivering a campaign that will celebrate the joys of reading,' the Minister said.

Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Director of the Welsh Books Council, added 'The Books Council is delighted that the Welsh Assembly Government has earmarked 2008 as a National Year of Reading in Wales.

'As the lead organisation in this major campaign, we will work with key partners to create maximum impact and to ensure that everyone recognises the power and pleasure of reading,' she added.

Gwales

Books from Wales on-line

gwales.com