The successful North Lincolnshire Imagination Library has reached out across the country to help children discover a love of reading.
The Imagination Library – which sends a free book to every child under five once a month – is a worldwide scheme, but one of its most successful areas is North Lincolnshire.
Council Imagination Library staff put together monthly ideas sheets for parents with suggestions for activities they can do with their children related to the book they have received that month.
The scheme is the brainchild of American country singer Dolly Parton, and during the spring lockdown the Dollywood Foundation UK was so impressed with the ideas sheets they shared them with 206 partner groups, reaching nearly 40,000 children.
Two organisations in West Berkshire and Nottingham are now working with North Lincolnshire Council to develop the ideas sheets even further.
Small Steps Big Changes Nottingham and West Berkshire Council are helping produce the new resources, which contain activities, information, songs and rhymes to help parents and carers develop communication and language skills for their children – skills that are vital for future learning, health, and wellbeing.
Cllr Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council, welcomed the co-operation with other agencies: “The scheme is incredible and we’re pleased to be able to support it and provide books to all children under five across North Lincolnshire. The take up is and always has been fantastic, nine out of ten of all children were involved.
“We are passionate about giving all our children the best possible start and we know developing a love of reading is critical to the effective development of a child’s future. We only just recently announced that funding for this book-gifting scheme will continue.
“Our continued commitment to funding the Imagination Library has improved outcomes for children’s lifelong learning. It is making a difference to the lives’ of many, many children now and will continue for years to come.
“On top of that, working in partnership with other organisations, we’ve pulled together resources and expertise, a fantastic way to support families with their home learning environment now and in the future.”
Karla Capstick, SSBC Programme Director Nottingham, said: “We’re proud to collaborate with both West Berkshire and North Lincolnshire Council on this exciting initiative, building on the strong local partnership with Nottingham City Council and The Rotary Club.
“The home learning environment has become even more important for families in the past year, to be able to enhance the Dolly Parton Imagination Library scheme by sharing activities that encourage early child development will have a huge positive impact on our communities.”
Cllr Dominic Boeck, Executive Member for education, children and young people, West Berkshire Council, said: “The brilliant Dolly Parton Imagination Library scheme brings books into homes to inspire a love of reading in our youngest children. When we work together they can share resources, skills and ideas to achieve great things.
“The collaboration between West Berkshire Council, Small Steps Big Changes and North Lincolnshire Council to create the Dolly Parton Imagination Library sheets will help our families have fun together and make the best of the exciting books their children receive.”
Anyone who receives the Imagination Library books every month can receive the sheets via the monthly email newsletter. For more information and to sign up go to the Imagination Library page on our website and you can register to join the Imagination Library – and receive a free book for your child every month – here.
You can see previous ideas sheets and download them off the website here.