The gift of a monthly book is a highlight at the Cohen house, where, thanks to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, shared reading has become part of daily family life.

Jane was one of the first children signed up to the Imagination Library when it opened in Ryde in 2014. It was the month of her 3rd birthday. When her brother, Xavier, was born the following year, he joined at just 8 weeks old.

The Cohen’s believe the combination of high quality books, and parent tip sheets, have instilled a love of reading in their children, which has followed the eldest into school. They believe the two main benefits of the program are language development, and providing a positive parent-child experience.

Research shows that shared reading is highly beneficial for children. Benefits include language development, listening skills, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills, long before children themselves can read. Shared reading also provides an opportunity for parents to foster positive attitudes toward reading, creating lifelong learners in the process.

For the Cohen’s, the Imagination Library has provided an opportunity to get excited about books as a family. “When my older child, no longer in the program, gets excited when the younger child’s book arrives, the younger child gets excited too.”

Their love of books has extended beyond the program too. “According to my daughter, I am the best mum in the world because I helped her get her own library card”, says Jane’s mum.

“I really like trusting the quality of the books, knowing that someone is selecting well considered books that will benefit my children. I like the regularity of the books as my children get excited when they arrive in the mail and we rush to read them.”

“The tip sheets help me to know how to engage my child and how to approach the new book, like what questions to ask about the cover, and the follow up questions allow me to see how the book could relate to other conversations.”

With a growing library of very nice books we find ourselves returning to our favourite books, especially after receiving a new one.

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