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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-21-10

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


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 Beanstalk!"

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 website today....!


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Southport Reporter (R) Bourder




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