We are excited to be working on a collaborative project with Dollywood Foundation UK and Genesis Housing Association.
The Dollywood Foundation is a literacy charity set up by Dolly Parton and inspired by her dad who was unable to read or write. Their sole area of work in the UK is the Imagination Library. An age appropriate book is posted out each month to all enrolled children from birth to the age of 5. The aim is to encourage reading in the home and school preparedness through monthly book gifting; a significant body of research shows that having books in the home helps early literacy skills.
Give a Book has joined with the Dollywood Foundation to give books to Genesis families who register for the scheme. The Imagination Library are providing books for the 0-5 age group, with Give a Book giving them to the 5-10 age group. The gift of books to children is to help promote reading for pleasure.
A huge body of evidence suggests that reading for pleasure not only develops communication, language and social/emotional skills, but can have a very positive impact upon a person’s health and wellbeing (see below for supporting research and evidence).
Why is this important?
1 in 3 children in the UK do not own a book (National Literacy Trust, 2011), yet decades of research has shown that having books in the home supports the development of early literacy skills. The same 2011 report found that the number of books in the home is directly linked to children’s reading levels; of those who have books in the home, more than half are above average readers. Furthermore, as well as improving educational outcomes, there is strong evidence to show that reading for pleasure improves health and wellbeing. Research commissioned by The Reading Agency (2015) found that reading impacts positively on a child’s social capital and leads to better parent-child communication.
Book gifting by the Imagination Library and Give a Book can help encourage reading for pleasure because we place books directly into the hands of a child and their family.
Research into the Imagination Library over the last 20 years has found that monthly book gifting supports stronger early reading skills, helps to close the language gap and encourages parental engagement.