Scottish Government
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Parents urged to Play Talk Read

A national road-show launches this week to encourage parents and carers to play, talk and read more with their younger children.

Launched yesterday by the Minister for Children and Young People, Angela Constance, the road-show will visit all of Scotland's 32 local authorities as part of the next phase of the Scottish Government's Play, Talk, Read campaign which focuses on the early years of children's lives.

In partnership with Scottish Book Trust, the Play@Home scheme and other voluntary organisations, the roadshow kicks-off in key shopping centres across Scotland offering fun and free play and Bookbug stories, song and rhyme sessions in an engaging pop-up area. The Scottish Government's new Play Talk Read Bus will then take to the streets, visiting towns and cities across the country.

The national drive - aimed at helping parents stimulate their children from day one through low-cost, fun activities - will also include TV and radio adverts and a website for parents of young children. The initiative is designed to build upon the success of the campaign earlier this year by helping parents create strong foundations to improve their children's future life chances.

Angela Constance, Minister for Children and Young People commented:

"The early years are a priority for this government, committed as we are to supporting children through a policy of early intervention. Investment in young Scots today is an investment in a better future for us all, with every £1 spent on young people now, saving the taxpayer £9 in future.

"Playing, talking and reading with our children is key to their physical, cognitive and social development and it's essential we promote the benefits of this approach through the continuing the work of the Play, Talk, Read campaign across Scotland this year.''

Marc Lambert, CEO for Scottish Book Trust said:

"We are really delighted to be working together with the Play Talk Read campaign again this year - encouraging parents to share books, games and conversation with their children in the early years can make a real difference to their future health, well-being and attainment. There is no doubt that this roadshow will be hugely welcomed by all those who recognise that investment in Early Years represents a vital and effective contribution to individual lives, society as a whole, and the future of this country."

Following its success earlier this year, an enhanced Play Talk Read DVD offering advice, interactive games and digital books will again be available for parents and carers to take away, free, from each roadshow and also via the website.

Play, Talk, Read was launched in 2009 and highlights that simple interaction (playing, talking and reading) with children under three helps build the child/parent bond and can provide essential social skills, motivation and capabilities that make lifelong learning easier and help build a more successful life in the long term.

While research from 2009 demonstrated that people were playing, talking and reading with their children, the more the better. The campaign seeks to encourage parents and carers to incorporate these three simple steps into their everyday lives, highlighting that children don't need expensive toys or costly visits - it is simple time and attention that make all the difference.

Research underpinning the Early Years Framework shows that:

  • During the first three years 75 per cent of brain growth is complete
  • By the age of three, 50 per cent of our language is in place
  • Children whose parents talk to them frequently have better language skills than parents who seldom talk to them (at 20 months babies of talkative parents knew 131 more words that infants of less talkative parents. At 24 months the difference was 295)

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