You might have heard that funding for Bookstart, a programme to give books to young children, is being axed. According to The Guardian:
Booktrust, the independent charity set up to encourage reading, is to lose all government funding for its children's gifting programmes Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up, in England, it was announced today.
Whilst the aims of Bookstart are undoubtably laudable, having experienced the bookgifting side as a parent I would suggest that the books probably largely go to families who are already highly literate and are therefore a questionable use of resources. I'd rather the money was spent on smaller classes in early years provision in catchment areas with poor literacy track records, in the current economic crisis.
You can read here about how in my town the first book gift worked well, the second was an accident, and the third (aimed at three year olds and at a cruicial point in reading development) was entirely down to my child attending the right play group and my using the library. Reaching stay-at-home parents with poor literacy it was not.