As the festive season arrives, Hull City Council is asking residents to consider if they could give the gift of reading to a child in the city.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library scheme launched in September, and provides a free book each month to two year olds in Hull. It is hoped that through donations the scheme can be rolled out to three and four years olds as well.
The council invested £88,500 for the scheme to be available to two year olds, and around 1000 families have taken up the scheme.
Councillor Peter Clark, Portfolio Holder for learning, skills and safeguarding children said: “In Hull the reading age of children entering school is below national averages and the pandemic is likely to further impact upon preparedness for school. Evidence shows that reading aloud to children at a young age positively impacts on their brain development, and will also improve their reading age ready for school.”
“Whilst we realise this year is difficult for many, if people are able to donate, it means we can extend the scheme to more children and I believe this would spread a bit of joy for those children.”
A suggested donation of £5 can be made by texting HULL to 70460. To donate another amount text ‘HULL’ followed by a space and then the donation amount, for example ‘HULL 10’ to donate £10. Texts cost the amount donated plus a standard message rate.
Each book costs £2.08 per child each month, and £25 would give a child a free book every month for a year.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a non-profit organisation, and the Library puts in £126 per child a year, meaning any donations go straight to the cost of books for a child in the city.
Jo Moxon, Head of Education said: “Sharing books is a magical introduction to the world of language, illustration and reading readiness. Enjoying picture books and talking about stories plays a huge part in giving children a love of learning, increasing vocabulary and giving them a range of topics to talk about and enjoy with adults. This scheme will give hundreds of children a library of their own and a way for their parents, carers and teachers to help their children to talk about characters, learn new words and build confidence and excitement about books.”
Parents can register their two year old for the scheme via children’s centre, through nurseries and childminders or online here.