Up to 60 FREE books may be on offer as famous singer Dolly Parton bids to get all Scunthorpe area under fives reading
UP TO 60 free books may be given to every child under the age of five in North Lincolnshire in a £1 million literacy scheme.
The Imagination Library project, created by US singer Dolly Parton, provides every child who registers for the scheme with a free book each month from the time they are born until their fifth birthday.
The scheme, designed to inspire young children and highlight the importance of reading, already reaches 670,000 children worldwide.
Now North Lincolnshire Council will pilot the scheme in the Isle of Axholme for six months, with a view to start rolling it out across the region later in 2013.
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Country and western star Dolly, pictured, said: "I am so excited that the good people of Scunthorpe have decided to bring the Imagination Library to their children.
"I know times are hard and decisions about money are tough, but I am sure that every pound and pence we invest in our young children will be the best investment we will ever make."
The Isle has been chosen because literacy problems have been identified there by North Lincolnshire Council.
Children's centres in Crowle and the Isle will be the 'Local Champions', supporting registrations and providing a contact for families, as well as promoting and encouraging reading.
There will be regular sessions at children's centres if parents want any help with reading skills or literacy.
Children's classic The Tale of Peter Rabbit is the first book children will receive – and it will come with a personal message from Dolly.
Each year's set of books is aimed at the different age groups: Year one will see colourful books that are easy to use, with minimal text; year two will see the use of repetition and predictability to help youngsters generate language; year three will see the roll-out of texts that will prepare children for school; year four will see the introduction of more complex stories; year five will see books that introduce elements such as non-fiction, including science.
North Lincolnshire Council will invest £250,000 a year to fund the scheme until 2017, and is looking for businesses and organisations to complement that funding.
Council bosses hope the scheme will be fully rolled out in North Lincolnshire within 12 to 18 months.
In the pilot, all pre-school children in the Isle of Axholme will be able to register.
Once a child has been registered with the children's centre, they will receive a book each month by post. They will subsequently receive a book every month until their fifth birthday.
Andrew Percy, Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole, advocated the scheme.
He said: "The Imagination Library scheme has the potential to make a massive difference to the lives of young people throughout North Lincolnshire.
"I am impressed with how North Lincolnshire Council has taken up this scheme and I look forward to seeing the scheme roll out throughout the area."
The Imagination Library will be launched today (February 1), at Crowle Children's Centre.
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