Parents urged to play, talk, read


A new campaign to encourage parents and carers to play, talk and read to their young children to help give them the best start in life, has been launched by Scotland’s Children’s Minister, Adam Ingram.

The Play, Talk, Read campaign – part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing focus on the early years of children’s lives – aims to build on the success of a similar campaign last year and help parents lay the foundations for improved future life chances for their children.

The national drive – which includes TV and radio adverts and a one-stop website for parents of young children – is aimed at helping parents stimulate their children from day one through low-cost, fun activities. It will also take to the streets with a national roadshow tour, organised in partnership with the Scottish Book Trust.

Minister for Children and Early Years Adam Ingram said:

“This year’s Play Talk Read campaign highlights the huge benefits that parents and carers can bring to their children’s lives simply by playing, talking and reading with them more often.

“Scientific evidence shows that a child’s brain in its earliest years develops at a phenomenal rate. These first few years represent a golden opportunity for us to give our children the best possible start in life.

“The roadshows offer not just a great time for parents and children, but lots of useful ideas on things to do with your children from playing together around the home to reading and rhyming together.”

The three-week roadshow will visit shopping centres and supermarkets in key areas across the country offering free, fun reading and rhyming sessions in an engaging, pop-up area. Visitors will be able to take away free Play, Talk, Read playmats, soft cubes and DVDs.

The Play Talk Read website has been updated for this year’s campaign including tips and advice with digital books, an online community, interactive videos, games and promotions. Nine TV infomercials featuring parents telling their Play, Talk, Read stories are also being aired.

A Play, Talk, Read DVD containing infomercials, offering advice, interactive games and digital books is available to parents and carers free through the website and is being distributed through the infomercials and roadshows.

Sue Palmer, Literacy Expert and Chair of the Scottish Play Commission said:

”With so many pressures on parents these days, it’s easy to lose track of what wee ones need to grow up bright, balanced and resilient. Play, Talk, Read sums it up. From the moment they’re born, children need real-life play and fun activities to develop their physical coordination and control. They need mum and dad to talk to them about everyday events to develop their language and social skills. And, they need stories, rhymes and songs to lay the foundation for success at school.

“Play, Talk, Read is brilliant – I’ve met lots of parents who find the website really helpful. It just nudges your memory with ideas for having fun with babies and toddlers, while helping along their natural development.

“It’s not rocket science but it wouldn’t be, would it? Human beings have been developing for a lot longer than rockets. What’s more, all three of these vital ingredients for healthy child development are free. Play, Talk, Read is a recession-beating formula!”