When Kylie first signed her children up to receive books as part of United Way’s Ready to Read program, she was sceptical. After all, her children had never been interested in books before. But once the books began to arrive, she noticed an immediate change.

Simon loves books now, he’ll actually sit down and look through the books. And my middle daughter hated reading. It’s really helped — from being that little girl that was ‘I can’t read this, I’m not going to try,’ she will happily pick up a book now, it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen.

Just like for so many other children in the program, books have become something to be treasured for Kylie’s children, Simon, and daughters Lily and Emily. But the real impact that these monthly books are having is much more profound. Through their reading activities, Kylie’s children aren’t just building their imaginations – they’re developing the literacy basics they need to be able to start school ready to learn to read.

And it’s the development of these skills that can impact their whole life.

Children without books in the home often miss out on developing the early literacy foundations needed to keep up in school. And with 90% of those starting behind never catching up to their peers, a lack of early literacy skills can severely limit a child’s overall education and opportunities in life.

That’s why getting books into the hands of children and encouraging families to read more together is so important in the critical first few years.

And as Kylie tells us, it’s not just the technical reading skills – like knowing how to hold a book and turn the pages and learning new words – that the Ready to Read program delivers. Receiving their own new book each month has transformed her children’s attitudes and behaviour towards reading. It’s one of the reasons Kylie is now a passionate advocate of United Way’s Ready to Read program, and why she’s encouraging more people to get behind it.

It’s a fantastic program for our kids. We don’t all have the money to go out to the shops and to buy them the fantastic books we would like to buy them. The Imagination Library sends us beautiful storybooks that actually can help with growing up issues and their imagination. So if you can help in any way, I would say help them out!

More UWA Stories

The impact of the work we undertake is inspirational and far-reaching. From giving a child a head-start in their learning journey, to empowering young people to realise their potential in the workforce - the stories of collaboration and lasting change are the sole reason we strive to continue and expand the work that we do.