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About us

What is Booktime

Booktime is the national free books programme for Reception-aged children in England, run by independent charity Book Trust. Booktime provides a free book pack for children to share and enjoy with their family and friends.

In 2015-16 the Booktime book is Open Very Carefully by Nicola O'Byrne, with words by Nick Bromley and published by Nosy Crow. Booktime aims to give a free book pack to every eligible child soon after they first start primary school, with guidance for parents and carers on shared reading.


Booktime promotes the pleasure of books by encouraging families to have fun reading together. The programme supports, encourages and enables reading for pleasure at home at an important transition stage in a child's learning and development


Targeted resources are also provided for children with additional needs and are available through the Booktime website. Local authority and partner agency contacts help to deliver a Booktime book pack to eligible children (aged 4-5 years) in England who may not be accessing mainstream education.


Booktime gives parents/carers

  • Free books to read with your child
  • Support and guidance for you to help make your child a confident reader
  • Resources to support your child's reading and engagement with the Booktime book
  • A place to find everything you need to share books, stories and activities with your child online.

Booktime impact - 2014-2015

Teachers reported that Booktime had impacted on children as follows:

  • 67% of teachers said Booktime increased children's enjoyment of reading
  • 37% of teachers reported the frequency of shared reading at home had increased
  • 40% of teachers felt children's development of literacy skills had improved.


Teachers own skills and access to resources were also enhanced

  • 50% of teachers stated that they knew more about activities related to books and reading for pleasure as a result of Booktime, and 41% do more of these activities as a result of Booktime


Parents are more involved in shared reading with their children

  • Children are engaged by the Booktime books: 89% of parents reported that, when reading the Booktime books, 'as we read my child was interested to see what was on the next page'
  • Home-school links improved as a result of Booktime: 32% of parents felt Booktime had improved communication about reading between them and their child's school.
  • Families have spent more quality time together as a result of Booktime: 40% of parents reported spending quality time with their child as a result of receiving a Booktime pack.

Booktime in schools

Booktime in schools

Booktime works with approximately 17,500 primary schools in England each year.

Read about how Booktime works with libraries

Read about how Booktime works with libraries

Booktime works in partnership with libraries across England each year.