Bookbug for All: Stories, Songs and Rhymes in Gaelic

At Scottish Book Trust, we love language and languages. We believe that exposure to different languages enriches children's lives, and it's one of the reasons we support the Scottish Government's ambition to create a secure future for Gaelic in Scotland.

Gaelic has enjoyed a revival in recent years - with families who have a strong Gaelic heritage, but also by others who see the benefits that learning a new language can have on their children's lives. In both cases, the Gaelic Bookbug programme offers a great starting point for families on their journey to become Gaelic speakers. 

Children engage with stories, songs and rhymes for many reasons. The repetition and rhythm of songs like 'Twinkle Twinkle' or 'The Wheels on the Bus' make it easy for them to learn new words and the illustrations in picture books helps them to understand what's going on. Stories, songs and rhymes help children to process language, and this is especially beneficial to children who are learning a second language like Gaelic. 

It is at [Bookbug] sessions that some children and their grown ups will hear Gaelic spoken for the first time

There are Gaelic Bookbug Sessions taking place all over Scotland. At these sessions some children and their grown ups will hear Gaelic spoken for the first time. It's a safe place for families to test their use of Gaelic and not be criticised for pronouncing words incorrectly, and the perfect entry level for learning a new language. Most importantly, little ones get to speak Gaelic with their friends in a fun and encouraging environment!  

For families who are not able to make it along to a Gaelic Bookbug Session, there are a number of Gaelic songs and rhymes in the Bookbug Song and Rhyme Library. Don't worry if you can't quite catch the words, as the lyrics for all of the songs and rhymes are available too.  

All families who speak Gaelic, or have an interest in learning Gaelic, can also access free Gaelic Bookbug Bags for their children at key milestones (as a baby, between the ages of 1 and 2, when they turn 3 and when they start P1). These are offered alongside the corresponding Bookbug Bags in English. This year we also received funding to produce a dual-language Gaelic/English Bookbug P1 Activity Booklet for children in Gaelic Medium Education, which they can share in school and at home.  

The opportunities for families in Scotland to engage with Gaelic stories, songs and rhymes are growing all the time. Keep an eye on our Bookbug Song and Rhyme Library for even more Gaelic videos and audio tracks in the coming months. And if you would like to hear the Bookbug Bag books being read in Gaelic, take a look at the wonderful Gaelic4Parents website.