Ready to Read

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Ready to Read - Header

Bringing home the magic of reading

Putting a book in a child’s hand opens a whole new world to them. An Imagination Library delivered by United Way, brings the magic of reading into Australian homes – kick-starting a lifelong love of reading, and creating an evidence-based pathway for a child’s success in later life.

Children that are eligible and registered for Imagination Library will receive a free, high quality, age-appropriate book in the mail each month from birth to age five. Resources are also provided to help engage with the book in ways that drive language development and early literacy.

To check if your area has a program available click on the link below.

Dolly Parton sits in a patterned chair holding a book

Sparking the potential in every child

22% of Australian children start school developmentally vulnerable. These children are born with the same capacity for learning as their peers, but don’t get the same literacy building blocks to carry throughout life.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library helps us to find ways to spark the potential of children who might otherwise be left behind.
Research tells us that the first 2,000 days of a child’s life are vital for brain development, and the impact on the next 80-plus years is profound. The simple act of regularly reading to a child opens up a whole new world.

Receiving their own book each month allows a child to make that world their own. Deliver this in a structured, nurturing way for five years before school and that child’s trajectory can change completely.

I feel so privileged to be a part of the program and know that my child’s development is supported and will improve dramatically with daily reading. Each time a book arrives I’m reminded that my community cares about my child, and that the investment of reading daily will result in higher chances of success in his future. It’s a win/win! Books can be so much fun, it supports me in engaging with my baby and gives me the tools to ensure his language, learning and literacy contain to improve.

Learning to learn

We know that there’s no better way to prepare a child for school than teaching them to read. It’s a powerful first step towards success at school, and beyond.

By putting a book into a child’s hand each month over 5 years, we give them a head start on their learning journey. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library supports parents and carers to be a child’s first teacher. It is a preparation for learning that helps to make reading a habit for children from birth.

Children receive up to 60 carefully staged books that are hand-picked by a committee of academics, authors, Indigenous advisors, teachers and librarians ensuring they reflect the diversity of the wider community and include themes and concepts that support developing minds to grow.

The Book Selection Committee plays a vital role in the Imagination Library by reviewing a range of books supplied from our global and national partnerships with local and international publishers.

United Way also engages dedicated support co-ordinators with reading tips, alongside digital resources to enable the greatest impact.

It’s a simple truth; learning itself is a skill. Being read to is the very first step in a child’s journey of learning to learn.