New funding will provide thousands more books for school children across Wales, helping them to improve key reading and speaking skills at a young age.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, announced an additional £5m in funding for reading programmes across Wales to provide a book for every learner in Wales, alongside a targeted scheme of reading support focusing on early years and disadvantaged learners.
The new funding will ensure children and young people are enthused by reading, develop their oracy skills as a gateway skill for learning, and move to improve their educational attainment.
The programme will include 72,000 additional books to reception children at schools across Wales, 3,600 letterbox club packs, books and training for practitioners to support learning, and one box of 50 books to every state school in Wales.
The Minister also confirmed a package of measures, including:
- working with teacher education providers and consortia to carry out a review of provision to ensure practitioners continue to get the high quality support that they need across Wales
- The National Network: a practitioner-led body to support schools with the implementation of the new curriculum: will prioritise reading and oracy in the spring, to facilitate high-quality teaching and consider the role of phonics in the new curriculum
- the development of a toolkit to support teachers to develop their classroom practice
- a review of language screening tools, undertaken by Cardiff Metropolitan University and the Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit, to help practitioners identify issues in listening, understanding and speaking skills
The Minister said:
Speaking, listening and reading skills play a fundamental part in our everyday lives. If we want to close the attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, then improving reading skills is vital.
We must ignite a passion for reading in children at a young age so that we can give them the habits and skills they’ll need later in life.
“Reading is essential in making sure learners have every opportunity to access the full breadth of the new Curriculum for Wales, the aims of which are underpinned by improved literacy and oracy among younger learners.
The Minister added:
I am delighted that I am able to demonstrate the life changing importance of books, reading and oracy by providing a book for every child and young person in Wales; as well as funding for more books in schools and families.