Dolly Parton launches Story Starters, a new volunteer-led program in London to help young children become ready to read.

Dolly Parton launches Story Starters in the UK. It's a new program that provides one-to-one language and communication support to young children. The program is designed to ensure that children have the skills to start primary school ready to read.

Held at Coram Campus in Bloomsbury, Dolly had a special message for the attendees. Also, children’s author and illustrator Sophy Henn is attending and engaging in a storytelling and drawing session for local children.

Story Starters

Story Starters is a new collaborative project between local children’s literacy charity Beanstalk, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and LuCid (The ESCR International Centre for Language and Communicative Development). The program aims to give children in Hackney, Wandsworth, Barnet and Islington support in developing their language and reading skills.

Research shows that children who benefit from high-quality support in their early years start school on average three months ahead in their literacy and language skills, compared with children who don’t. The program has been made possible by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, whose Dream Fund chose Story Starters to receive £1 million in funding in January 2017.

Volunteers Needed

Beanstalk is now looking for volunteers to become Story Starters in pre-schools and nurseries in Hackney, Wandsworth, Barnet and Islington. Story Starter volunteers will visit children twice a week and support three children for 20 minutes each. The sessions are fun, interactive and hugely beneficial to the children receiving extra support. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will provide every Story Starter child with high-quality, professionally-selected, age-appropriate books. Books are sent directly to both the early years setting and the home of each Story Starter child. As a result, kids can enjoy the magic of stories at home and with their Story Starter. Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk, says,

"We know how important it is for children in the early years of their education to receive support with their language development, as this enables them to start primary school ready to read and able to thrive throughout their lives."

Visit or call Beanstalk on 0845 450 0301 to become a Story Starter.



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