What has inspired us at Nursery Story to take action?

As Early Years Professionals, you will know the importance of books and shared reading for young children. Sharing books with under-fives activates the pathways associated with literacy skills, laying the foundations for reading success.

  • Children who are exposed to a strong literacy environment at an early age have better academic outcomes.
  • Reading stories also helps to broaden children’s horizons, builds their confidence and develops their emotions.
  • In short, books are a key building block for children’s future success and wellbeing.

Unfortunately, many children simply do not have the opportunity to explore books at home. Research shows that children living in poverty often have less access to books, experience less shared reading, and their exposure to language models at home can be limited. The effects of poverty can mean that parents have less time and money to spend on shared reading – and, since the pandemic hit, the situation is getting worse.

Even before Covid-19, 31% of all British children were growing up in poverty. The uncertainty of the last 18 months has created financial stress for so many families, increasing the risk to, and experience of, poverty across the UK.

We want to make sure that children in these families do not miss out on the joys and the benefits of growing up with books.

With most of our team based in Scotland, when we found out about Children 1st, Scotland’s national children’s charity, and their partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, this seemed like the perfect fit and we wanted to get involved.

What is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?

The Imagination Library is a global initiative created by country music legend Dolly Parton. Children can be referred to the scheme from birth to age 5. Once signed up, they will receive a gift of a book each month in the post, right through till their fifth birthday. These books, carefully selected and age-appropriate, will build up a special library for that child.

Findings from 20 years’ of research into this programme indicate that it is extremely popular in communities where it is implemented. It helps to promote changes in home literacy environments, improves children’s attitudes toward reading, and shows promise in developing early literacy skills.

Children 1st is offering the Imagination Library programme to any family that it works with across Scotland. As well as helping children to build up their own libraries, Children 1st provides practical and emotional support to parents and carers, helping them make space for reading in the family’s routines.

What can you do?

Together, we can ignite the imaginations of children who need it most.

We are inviting all our customers, partners and general public to get involved to benefit as many children and families as possible.

You can:

  • Donate to our Children 1st appeal. A donation of £25 will provide a year’s worth of books for one child, carefully curated by the Imagination Library.
  • Help us to spread the word and make Danny’s challenge count! Share our campaign on your social media channels.
  • Get your entire nursery community involved in supporting and donating.
  • Encourage parents to support their children’s development by reading with them at home. Here are some tips to get you started.

Your support, in any form, will ensure that more children grow up surrounded by the magic of books.

Thank you!

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