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Why is it needed in Nottingham?

In 2019, 32% of 4-year olds in Nottingham started school without the communication; language and literacy skills they need to learn and progress.

Reading regularly with your child will:

  • Improve their literacy levels
  • Improve the parent-child relationship
  • Develop communication and language skills
  • Prepare children for school by the age of 5.

Who is it for?

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting programme. It is designed to inspire a love of reading together. Each month, children from birth to age five, receive an age-appropriate book in the post, free of charge.

The scheme supports language development and communication for under 5s. Sharing stories with children is really important for helping brains to grow, as well as building bonds. Children registered with the scheme are found to:

  • Have longer reading sessions with parents
  • Talk about what is happening in the story
  • Be more likely to visit local libraries.

SSBC funds Dolly Parton's Imagination Library scheme for:

  • Children living within SSBC wards age 0-5
  • Private, Voluntary and Independent childcare settings and libraries within the SSBC wards.

Ideas Sheets

During a consultation with SSBC, parents asked for:

  • Guidance around developmental play
  • Ideas for activities that promote speech and language

To answer this need, SSBC worked with partners to develop Ideas Sheets that are inspired by and complement the free books that children receieve through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library scheme.

Ideas sheets can be downloaded for free. They are also available at local libraries.

Project Partners

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library scheme in Nottingham takes a partnership approach. The partnership includes: 

  • Libraries
  • SSBC Family Mentors
  • PVIs
  • The Children’s 0-19 Public Health Service
  • Nottingham City Council
  • The Rotary Club

Partners involved in the creation of Ideas Sheets include:

  • Nottingham City Libraries
  • North Lincolnshire Council
  • West Berkshire Council
Man and child reading book
Woman and child reading book

“With our Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Ideas Sheets, we’re proud to collaborate with both West Berkshire and North Lincolnshire Council, 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; so to be able to develop and share activities that encourage early child development and enhance the Dolly Parton Imagination Library scheme locally, will have a huge impact on our communities.’”

Karla Capstick, SSBC Programme Director

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