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Early reading support for refugee families

Published: 8 Mar 2016 12:30

Book packs distributed to Syrian families in Scotland.

Up to 1,000 children's books and toys will be donated from the Scottish Government and Scottish Book Trust to refugee families across Scotland.

The donation is made up of a contribution of books from the Scottish Book Trust and Play Talk Read packs, which contain a book, a play mat, flash cards, a puppet and play cubes, and will be distributed to families in need who have recently arrived in Scotland from Syria.

Children's Minister Aileen Campbell handed over the first donation of 40 packs for families in Dundee today while visiting Dens Road Primary School.

On handing over the books and toys, Ms Campbell said:

"Many of the children who have come to Scotland under the Syrian Resettlement Programme have experienced long periods of time with no education, no opportunities to play and no normality in their lives.

"Reading with a child can be one of the most rewarding and beneficial things a parent can do. It is vital that we support these families in restoring their lives, and ensuring parents have a good bond with their children plays a critical part in helping to do this.

"I'm delighted to be handing over the first 40 of up to 1,000 book packs that will be distributed to Syrian families living across Scotland."

Catriona Wallace, Head of Early Years at Scottish Book Trust, said:

"We want to encourage and inspire a love of books and reading in every child in Scotland.

"This love of books and reading starts right from birth. When we read with babies and young children, we're creating their sense of security, but also developing their language, and understanding of the world. We hope that the books we are giving to refugee families will bring joy and inspire happy times spent reading together."

PlayTalkRead is aimed at parents, grandparents and carers of children aged 0 – 3 years. It encourages them to play, talk and read with their children every day to give them the essential skills, motivation and abilities that will make it easier for them to keep learning throughout their lives.

Scotland has received more than 400 Syrian refugees under the Syrian Resettlement Programme since October 2015. More than half of Scotland's local authorities have now received refugees in their area.

Notes to editors

We are working with key partners, including the Home Office, COSLA and local authorities, to ensure the smooth arrival and integration of Syrian refugees. We must protect the privacy of people who may be arriving in Scotland in a highly vulnerable state and ensure that they are cared for and nurtured as they begin to rebuild their lives in our communities.

The books included in the packs are word-light with pictures, ensuring they will work well with families whose first language is not English.