Thousands of free books are to be handed to local schoolkids in a bid to encourage them to discover the joy of reading.

Books will be given to all primary one pupils at schools across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

And there will also be gift bags containing books, writing materials and counting games for each child in primary two and three.

The giveaway is being funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Scottish Book Trust – a national charity which aims to transform young lives through reading and writing.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It is vital to help young people develop a love of reading at an early age.

“Recent research from the Scottish Book Trust highlights the positive impact our annual gift bags are having, with three-quarters of teachers surveyed stating that their pupils were more enthusiastic about books since receiving their bags.

“The learning materials in our gift bags encourage parents to try simple reading, writing and counting activities at home with their children. These activities not only improve numeracy and literacy skills but can help keep the kids entertained and make everyday family life a little bit easier.”

Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, added: “As well as laying the foundations of early literacy, book sharing between children and their parents is critical for helping to develop nurturing and loving relationships and promoting emotional intelligence, as well as building good communication and listening skills.

“That’s why we provide funding to the Scottish Book Trust for the Bookbug initiative, which helps to encourage an early love of books.”

Books being given to primary one pupils include Eric Makes a Splash, by Emily MacKenzie.

Children in primary two and three can look forward to getting their own copy of the likes of A Tale of Two Beasts, by Fiona Robertson.

They will also get storytelling cards and dice, number games and a guide for parents to help them incorporate reading, writing and counting activities into their family’s day-to-day lives.

Marc Lambert, Scottish Book Trust CEO, said: “Book Week Scotland is the perfect time to develop a love of reading with your child. Sharing a story together is one of the most powerful ways to bond.

“There are also many Bookbug events taking place during Book Week Scotland and we hope families will be able to visit an event near them, even if it’s their first time attending a session.”