€20 million school library book grant announced

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€20 million is to be provided to primary and secondary schools for books, audiobooks and other media.

Minister for Education Norma Foley announced the fund which will be paid to schools in the coming weeks and is additional to that already given for the school books rental scheme.

Schools will receive funding based on pupil numbers and the Department of Education will also send a guidance note to all schools on how schools can best use the funding received.

Minister Norma Foley said that a love of reading is one of the greatest gifts a child can be given.

“It is of utmost importance that we provide access to the highest quality books in all our schools,” she said.

“They enable our students to go on magical journeys, experience new ideas and open their minds to infinite possibilities. In doing so reading assists in the development of language and literacy skills.

“It is said that books are uniquely portable magic and I firmly believe that reading opens up a world of imagination and endless possibilities; taking the reader to places they have never been, provoking curiosity, wonder and discussion.”

Minister Foley said that as a teacher, she knows well ‘the value to students of reading widely’, and she has been determined that there is investment in school literacy resources.

“With this initiative we can ensure that schools and our students have access to the highest quality books and materials to support their literacy,” she said.

“Considerable progress has been made in promoting a high level of literacy since the 2011 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and Interim Review 2017.

“The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2016 results showed that the reading skills of primary school children in Ireland, both in the paper based and online assessment are among the best in all European and OECD countries. It is important to build on this good work and ensure that these high standards are maintained.”