Scheme finds it’s good to play, talk and read

Parents and children enjoy a visit by Benji, the PlayTalkRead bus
Parents and children enjoy a visit by Benji, the PlayTalkRead bus

PlayTalkRead, the Scottish Government’s early years campaign, has reached a record number of families in 2014, it has been revealed.

Visits to the website over the year were 122,965 – an increase of 50 per cent on 2013 and a 219 per cent increase on 2012. More than 43,000 people visited Benji and Bessie, the PlayTalkRead buses in 2014 – an 11 per cent increase on last year.

PlayTalkRead encourages parents and carers to play, talk and read with their young 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.

This year also saw the pilot of a sensory playbus for children with disabilities or emotional and behavioural difficulties as part of the campaign – the first of its kind in the country.

Acting Minister for Children Fiona McLeod said: “As a former librarian, I’m delighted to see so many families have got involved in the PlayTalkRead campaign by either visiting the buses or the website. I hope they’ve been inspired by some of the ideas.

“As a government we are determined to identify what works and ensure that the best ideas are promoted and supported more widely. That’s why we are taking the principles of PlayTalkRead and Bookbug and extending them into early primary school to develop a new Read, Write, Count campaign to boost literacy and numeracy in the critical first years of school.”