Government the Grinch to young readers

GrinchIn news that has come as a shock to readers, writers, and educators throughout the UK, the government has announced that they will be cutting the annual £13 million grant given to book-gifting charity Booktrust. The announcement came as a surprise even to the charity, which had offered to take a 20% cut in funding earlier this year.

Through various book-gifting schemes, Booktrust has been providing books to millions of babies, children, and teenagers (and their families) for nearly 20 years, and has inspired over 20 other countries to start up similar schemes. The availability of books to children who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to read is, I believe, invaluable. Not only are children exposed to culture, adventure, information, and inspiration, but the books provide a healthy family bonding opportunity. Many parents might not think to read to their children, but having books given to them opens that door.

Understandably, well-known writers are up in arms this Christmas period. Former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion said “The decision to scrap Bookstart is an act of gross cultural vandalism. For the last 20-odd years the scheme has successfully introduced an enormous number of young people to both the pleasure and the necessity of reading and has been of tremendous benefit in the drive towards literacy. Very well organised, and very well run by Booktrust, it has become a national institution, and the envy of the world.”

Some people don’t believe that reading is important, but it can trigger passion for learning, writing, reading, exploring, and just thinking in general. I hope that the government can work out some kind of compromise, as losing this charity totally would be devastating for future generations.

Full article: The Guardian.

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