Bookstart (“bokstart”) is an early bookgifting programme. Bookstart provides free books to families with small children to help families read together every day and inspire children to develop a love of books and reading. The initiative is inspired by Bookstart in the UK run by the reading charity BookTrust. The Association Read is currently running a Bookstart project in three districts in Oslo (with around 2000 births per year).

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The public health nurse gives the parents a book when their baby is between eight and fifteen months. The book is a wordless picture book, and the idea is that parents can tell the story for the baby in their own language. They also hand out information about how to stimulate their baby’s language development and why it is important to build a relationship between parent and child through reading aloud from the earliest years. In 2019 we were awarded funds from the Danish Egmont Foundation. We will use the money to buy books that we can distribute through the family’s local library to all two-year-olds who are already part of the pilot project. At the same time, we will extend the pilot project to several other districts in Oslo. We also cooperate with three small municipalities in western Norway, so that we can learn how the Bookstart project works elsewhere in Norway with different demographics.