A BOOKSHOP in Stroud has received a donation from a generous benefactor which will see every Stroud town centre reception year pupil receive a £10 book token.

Seven primary schools in the town centre will receive a school welcome pack which it is hoped will encourage the town's children to experience the joy of reading.

"This is a fantastically kind gift mostly paid for by one of our regular customers," Stroud Bookshop owner Charles Tongue said.

"The impetus behind this idea is partly to make sure that every child can experience the fun, stimulation and delight of books from the earliest possible age.

"It will also help to secure the future of our bookshop."

The seven schools who will be part of the scheme are Rosary Catholic Primary School, Uplands Primary School, Stroud Valley Community School, Severn View Primary Academy, Cashes Green Primary School, St Matthew's C of E Primary School and Callowell Primary School.

Reception pupils at Stroud Valley Primary School were very excited to receive their book tokens on Friday and told the SNJ that they were looking forward to reading books about kittens, horses, unicorns and scary monsters.

Dinosaurs were also a very popular topic for the new pupils.

Charles Tongue added: "Of course we want every new generation to grow up loving books and developing the habit of buying them from their local bookshop.

"This feels particularly important at a time when government funding is forcing schools to cut back on buying books."

Charles told the paper that he hopes to continue the new scheme each year and expand in to more schools.

"We know that access to books in the home is closely linked to success in school and later later life," Charles said.

"If we can extend the funding beyond our initial benefactor - and we have already had some success in doing this - we feel that we could build up something that will really help school children across the whole district."

Research has shown that reading enjoyment is more important for children’s educational success than most other factors at home.