Jane & Isabelle’s Story
“I think it is helping the whole family…”
Part of United Way Australia’s early years’ initiative, the Imagination Library is delivering more than books. For parents like Jane, it’s helping to build critical skills and confidence as her children’s ‘first educator’.
Many parents often worry that they’re “doing it wrong,” at times doubting their ability to provide their children with best possible opportunities to reach their full potential. But for parents with learning difficulties or limited income, ensuring their children receive the early developmental support they need can be a constant fear.
Jane is one of the many parents for whom Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library represents a potentially life-changing initiative – the opportunity to help the whole family learn to read together, and the chance for her children to break free from the cycle of disadvantage. Having dyslexia, Jane found reading to her young children Isabelle, 3 ½ and Danny, 10 months, incredibly difficult. Coupled with the fact that the family couldn’t afford new books, shared reading was not a popular activity in the family home.
But things have changed dramatically since Isabelle was signed up to the Imagination Library.
When the books arrive, Isabelle will go running out to the mailbox and collect it. She will open it straightaway so everything inside will go flying and then she will sit on our lap and make us read it about 5 times!”
With the novelty and quality of the new monthly books getting her children excited about reading, Jane now has the impetus to spend more time engaged in shared reading, and is slowly but surely building her own literacy skills along with her children’s.
At the start I was pretty nervous as I have dyslexia, but it’s actually helping a lot, and getting me more used to reading – I think it is helping the whole family. Normally we end up going over and over the book and it helps me to get to know the book off by heart, it’s really good.”
With Isabelle now loving books so much, often requesting to be read to twice daily, Jane is hopeful that her daughter will start school better prepared than she did as a child, with the basic literacy skills and confidence needed to thrive.
My hopes when she starts school is that she is more confident with reading, (so) she gets to school happy to read a book and not be scared of it.”