Bookstart

Bookstart inspires a love of books and reading.

Bookstart is a national programme from BookTrust which gives free books to all babies and young children at three years old to support fundamental early years language and literacy development. Booktrust has a great website offering fun ideas, stories and help for parents and is worth a visit. Staff in libraries, preschools, schools and other settings may also find helpful resources and advice there.

Oxfordshire Libraries coordinates the delivery of the core programme to settings and individual parents or childminders through local libraries acting as collection points.

The core service comprises 'Baby' and 'Treasure packs' which can be supplemented with free books in dual languages in most European and some world languages. There are also packs suitable for children with special educational needs (SEN) requirements.

Pack Age of child
Baby Up to 12 months
Treasure 36-47 months (3 to 4-year-olds)
Shine 0 to 5 years - for children who are deaf
Touch 0 to 5 years – for children who are blind or partially sighted
Star 4 to 5 years – for children who have disabilities that impact/delay the development of motor skills

Bookstart for babies 0-12 months

Health visitor teams and other early years settings can request packs from the Bookstart coordinator by emailing bookstart@oxfordshire.gov.uk . From May 2021, settings will be advised to collect their orders from a nominated library for preference.

Parents and childminders can visit the following libraries for Baby packs: Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Didcot, Headington, Henley, Kennington, Oxfordshire County Library (Oxford) and Thame.

Parents and childminders who require additional resources or cannot visit any of the above libraries should email the Bookstart Coordinator at bookstart@oxfordshire.gov.uk with their needs and nominate a library as a collection point.

Bookstart Treasure for pre-schoolers 36-48 months

Preschool and nursery settings can request packs from the Bookstart coordinator bookstart@oxfordshire.gov.uk. From May 2021, settings will be advised to collect their orders from a nominated library for preference.

Parents and childminders can visit the following libraries for Treasure packs:

Banbury, Bicester, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Didcot, Headington, Henley, Kennington and Oxfordshire County Library (Oxford).

Parents and childminders who require additional resources or cannot visit any of the above libraries should email the Bookstart Coordinator at bookstart@oxfordshire.gov.uk with their needs and nominate a library as a collection point.

Dual language books

For children with English as their second language, parents and settings can ask for one additional book which will be in dual language (other language plus English). A range of European and world languages are available subject to availability.

Library Rhymetimes

BookTrust encourage rhymes and rhymetime activities as these play an important role in developing early language skills in babies and toddlers and they are fun for parents. Some of our libraries are now able to offer rhymetimes as we emerge from the pandemic.  Are you interested in becoming a rhymetime volunteer? Please enquire at your local library.

Bookstart Corner

Corner is designed for settings (eg. children’s centres or family hubs) that work directly with families with children aged 12-30 months who might need extra support to develop a love of stories and rhymes.

This service is not currently available through Oxfordshire Libraries. Please contact the Bookstart Coordinator if your setting and others wish to take part. bookstart@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Letterbox Club

Helping children who are looked after, previously looked after, vulnerable or on the edge of care, with reading and numeracy.

Oxfordshire County Council, schools and nurseries enrol children in this programme directly via the Letterbox Club contact at Booktrust.. Each child receives their own colourful parcel of books, maths games, stationery once a month for six months, usually from May to October.

Annual registration opens in November for the next year.

Time to read

Each year Booktrust send out book packs to every reception child in Oxfordshire through their primary school. Typically, each pack includes a free copy of a popular and well-regarded children’s book alongside some top tips for reading together.

The aim of the programme is to develop children’s imagination, improve language and listening as well as encouraging the development of more practical skills such as making new friends and dealing with change.

Oxfordshire County Council work with Booktrust to ensure all primary schools receive these packs in November every year.

School library packs

The School Library Pack and Special School Library Pack are reading for pleasure programmes, providing free books to mainstream schools in England, with a year 7 intake plus those with children on free school meals.

The pack contains carefully selected books, to help boost school libraries, broaden students reading and encourage them to try different genres and authors. The Special School Library Pack includes books and resources to support students with additional needs.

Thanks to the funding by Arts Council England, as well as Booktrust’s partners and donors, we can make this pack free to eligible schools.

Booktrust are distributing the packs directly to schools, with no registration. Eligible schools will be contacted directly.

Bookbuzz

Bookbuzz is a reading programme from Booktrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds.

Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 17 titles. They are all carefully selected by a panel of experts to ensure quality, suitability and to encourage reading for pleasure.

Registration for Bookbuzz opens around August/September and closes in October.