Dolly Parton Brings Books Down Under
11 February 2014 at 9:26 am
United Way Australia has joined forces with US singing icon Dolly Parton to help inspire Aussie pre-school children and their parents to read.
Dolly Parton is in Australia to launch the Dolly Parton Imagination Library – a charitable program that aims to improve the literacy of children in disadvantaged communities.
The Imagination Library promises to deliver one free age-appropriate book per month to children aged 0 – 5. Currently the Dollywood Foundation says 735,000 children receive a free book each month and so far she and her local partners have gifted over 56,000,000 books to children in four countries.
In Australia, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is to be run by United Way Australia which will be working with Rotary and Penguin Children’s Books to deliver free books to as many children as possible.
“We are very excited to be launching Imagination Library in Australia and hope to help up to 40,000 families tackle the issue of early reading deficiencies,” CEO of United Way Australia, Doug Taylor said.
“Already hundreds of children and parents have registered with the Imagination Library as part of our pilot program that will operate in six communities across the country.
“We hope with support and commitment of communities, businesses and individuals, we will be able to extend this reading program to many more disadvantaged communities across Australia.
“Australian statistics reveal that up to one in five local school students are not ready to start school when enrolled. Whilst studies show that lower literacy and education levels can be a precursor to social issues such as unemployment and poverty – commonly leading to a cycle of disadvantage.
“If you can read, you can learn about anything,” Parton said at the launch. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader,” he said.