Bookbug for the home

Free training for professionals and volunteers working with vulnerable families

Scottish Book Trust (SBT) delivers Bookbug, a national, universal book gifting programme providing free, high quality, books and other resources to every baby, toddler, three- and five-year-old in Scotland. Free Bookbug Sessions are run by almost every library across the country, and in many other community venues. In 2015/16, Bookbug gave free books to 244,480 under-fives in Scotland. The programme is funded and supported by Scottish Government and Creative Scotland's Youth Music Initiative.

Widening access and participation

Some families face significant barriers to reading or singing with their children, so SBT developed an outreach strand to support and give consistent messages to families who need extra help. The main element of SBT's outreach work is free training for local authority, health and third sector staff and volunteers to assist them to introduce the principles of Bookbug Sessions - talking, singing, rhyming, cuddling and book sharing with young children - into the homes of families across Scotland. Training is now offered in all 32 local authorities.

'Having the confidence to sing and read makes you feel like a mother.' Parent

Training early years practitioners to include bite-sized chunks of the Bookbug approach in their work in family homes and other community settings has proved effective in helping families with a wide range of needs such as:

  • substance misuse problems
  • having looked-after children
  • lacking confidence
  • having experienced trauma
  • children who have delayed speech or behavioural problems
  • needing support to interact with their children, including in a prison setting

Bookbug for the Home has allowed nursery staff to understand a child's home environment better, given health teams an additional tool to observe and assess children's developmental progress, and given a vast range of practitioners the confidence to model positive behaviours for parents. Perhaps most importantly, it has facilitated bonding and attachment between carers, adoptive parents and their children.

'Giving skills to staff who can build the skills for families.' Senior health promotion officer

Evaluation of the programme shows that participating in Bookbug for the Home has the following benefits for families:

  • Parents feel better equipped to play and interact with their children
  • There are sustained changes in how parents read, sing and talk with their children
  • Parents feel they have a closer bond with their children
  • Children gain in confidence & self-expression
  • Children's language & communication skills improve
  • Children's behaviour improves
  • Children are better prepared to fit in with some nursery routines

To date (August 2016) over 13,000 vulnerable families have experienced Bookbug for the Home, and evaluation showed that 99% of practitioners who have introduced Bookbug to families said that these sessions were effective at encouraging parents to do more talking, book sharing and singing with their children.

'It's humbling to see it - it's so simple but so huge.' Nursery practitioner

Bookbug for the Home training

Further information about Bookbug for the Home training can be found on our website:

To discuss your training needs contact Andra Iulian, Early years training administrator on 0131 541 2342