Reading Opportunities (Under-fives)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 19th June 2019.

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Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party

6. To ask the Scottish Government how it seeks to support reading opportunities for under-fives across the Maryhill and Springburn constituency. (S5O-03410)

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

Under-fives across Scotland will benefit from our transformational investment in early learning and childcare. Children in Maryhill and Springburn are already benefiting from early phasing of the expanded offer. In addition, there are 11 equity and excellence leads currently working in the constituency. Those additional graduate professionals provide support to children in our most disadvantaged communities, including support with literacy.

The bookbug programme delivers free sessions across Scotland, including in Springburn library, and we have invested £7 million in the play, talk, read campaign on the importance of playing, talking and reading with children in the early years.

Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party

I thank the minister for that answer. The Scottish Government has a partnership with the Imagination Library; so does Blochairn Housing Association in my constituency. It provides free reading books to all under-five children every single month, direct to all resident children in the Blochairn Housing Association area. It is a fantastic scheme. Will the minister meet Blochairn Housing Association, the Imagination Library and me to hear how that successful partnership with Blochairn Housing Association has benefited young people—

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

The minister has got the message, Mr Doris.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

No—no “finally”. Do not try that on.

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

Yes, I am aware of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. On a personal basis, I am a huge fan of her music but her passion for reading and the work that she has done to improve literacy have been incredible and worldwide. The initiative was launched in Scotland in 2011 and, to date, the Scottish Government has provided funding for the programme to operate nationally. In the last year, 33,451 books have been provided to 2,309 looked-after and adopted children aged nought to five in Scotland. If it would be helpful, I am happy to meet the member to discuss that further.