Caitlin & Jazmyn’s Story
“I would like to see every child in Australia get a book…”
Not many children have a favourite day of the month. But 3 ½ year old Jazmyn does.
It’s the day the mailman comes to deliver a very special package – the monthly book from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. As mum Caitlin tells us:
I make sure to take her out to the mailbox with me, she gets really excited to come out and collect the book. She runs inside usually and opens it straight away.”
One of United Way Australia’s early years’ initiatives, the Imagination Library is helping children across the country develop a love of books and reading while also building the skills they need to start school ready to thrive.
In communities experiencing socio and economic disadvantage – like Leichhardt where Jazmyn and and her family live – these books can be nothing short of life-changing. Encouraging more shared reading in the home, and in the community, they offer families who might not have otherwise been able to afford it a way of giving their children the chance to start school on an equal footing.
She’s way more interested in books than she was before. They have opened up another world of reading to her, where its more about more words on the page and more complicated stories than what she had before.”
With the Imagination Library supported at the local playgroup, Jazmyn gets to share the stories each month with her friends. Parents also use the books and characters as inspiration to fun and engaging activities for the children, helping maximise the learning and benefits every month.
I think its great that she is getting the same books as her friends at playgroup and they can all enjoy the books together. We can talk about the books and we can make things, do some creative work around the stories in the book.”
The books have also proved invaluable in helping children (and families) learn about different cultures and experiences, something especially important to Jazmyn, who attends an indigenous playgroup.
She really likes the book about Murawee which is about the indigenous culture, so she can relate all those words and characters to what she sees at playgroup.”
Like so many other parents who have seen first-hand the difference these books have made to their child’s imagination and learning, Caitlin is hoping the program can be expanded to reach other families who could use the support.
There are lots of families out there who can’t afford to buy books each month, so I think it’s really great that the Imagination Library exists. I would like to see every child in Australia get a book, I think that would be great.”