1st volunteers start helping Nursery
children become ready to read on Merseyside
INTERNATIONAL superstar and philanthropist Dolly Parton
has released a new film to encourage more people to get involved with:- 'Story
Starters;' a new volunteer led programme that provides 1 to 1 language and
communication support to early years' children. The programme has recently been
launched in Merseyside and has its 1st 'Story Starter' volunteers placed in
local settings to help ensure that children have the skills to start Primary
School ready to read.
'Story Starters' is a new collaborative project between national children's
literacy charity Beanstalk, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and LuCid (The
ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development) which aims
to give children the support they need to develop their language and reading
skills. Research has shown 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 programme
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.
The 1st setting to join the programme on Merseyside and to receive its trained
'Story Starter' volunteer is Northway Primary in Wavertree.
Natalie Kent, Early Years Lead at Northway Primary in Liverpool, says:-
"We have welcomed the 'Story Starters' project into our School with open arms.
Our children and their families are delighted to be receiving books each month
from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This will certainly promote a love of
reading and books."
Joanne Tait is the 1st Story Starter volunteer to be placed on Merseyside:-
"I am thrilled to be the 1st Story Starter volunteer in Liverpool and to
get started in Northway Primary. I am really excited to have the opportunity to
help the Nursery children get into the world of books."
'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. These books will be sent
directly to both the early years setting and the home of each 'Story Starter'
child, ensuring that they can enjoy the magic of stories at home as well as when
they are with their 'Story Starter.'
Sue Warren, Beanstalk Team Leader for Merseyside, says:- "Beanstalk is
excited to be working with our partners and local Nurseries across Merseyside on
our new programme 'Story Starters.' 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. We have already recruited a marvellous group
of volunteers, who are really committed to providing top class support in
Schools across Merseyside, and are looking for many more to come on board. So if
you think you can help and become Story Starter, please get in touch with
Kirsteen Watson, UK Regional Director, says:- "The Dollywood Foundation UK
has thoroughly enjoyed being part of this exciting new partnership, with a great
mix of different professional backgrounds all adding to the development of
'Story Starters.' Most refreshing of all is the pragmatic approach of all
partners who are each willing to roll up their sleeves and just give it a go!
Ultimately, we're working together to give children the gift of reading for
pleasure. We know that our monthly book deliveries get children excited about
books from a young age and with volunteers helping children alongside their
parents/carers at home, this will help boost children's language development
even more. We're looking forward to the next chapter of this story."
Find out more about becoming a Story Starter volunteer, visit their